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Action Society not willing to “shut up and sit down”

Police Minister Bheki Cele.Image: Ayanda Ndamane African News (ANA)

Police Minister Bheki Cele.Image: Ayanda Ndamane African News (ANA)

Published Jul 6, 2022

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SIYABONGA SITHOLE

Leader of civil rights group Action Society Ian Cameron says he is considering laying charges against Minister of Police, Bheki Cele.

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Cameron says he is considering approaching Ipid as well as the South African Police Services for assault charges following his forceful removal from a community meeting with residents of Nyanga and Gugulethu.

The meeting, which was attended by the Minister as well as members of the community and various civil rights organisations, descended into a war of words after Cele lashed out at Cameron, who had challenged him to help women community patrollers who were risking their lives protecting their communities without much help from law enforcement agencies.

Cele lashed out at Cameron, saying he will not be told what to do by someone who sees him as a garden boy, adding that he has dedicated his entire life to fighting injustices and racism.

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"I am not going to take nonsense of somebody who regard me as a garden boy. Shut up and sit down. I sat here and listened to you talking nonsense. Listen. It is your time to listen. Sit down and listen, young man or get out," Cele shouted.

Shortly after this tirade, Cameron was seen being escorted out of the community meeting by members of the police.

However, Cameron says his removal from the meeting and the manner in which it was done was proof that the minister had abused state resources adding that he will not shut up and sit down as the minister wants him to.

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"Action Society will not sit down and shut up while crime in South Africa is out of control. Cele is, once again, abusing the police force for political gain and holding authority over ordinary citizens," he said in a statement following the incident.

He said his organisation was acting on behalf of victims of gender-based violence, adding that the police would not win its fight against crime as long as the minister was still occupying his position.

" The SAPS will never succeed in fighting crime if Cele stays in his position. Action Society will, however, continue to be the voice of the voiceless where the police neglect their duty," he said.

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The organisation has called on a series of measures to improve crime prevention in the Western Cape, especially in the areas badly ravaged by crime, such as Gugulethu and Nyanga townships.

Among these is a skills audit to determine and enforce the merit of appointments, polygraph tests for all members of the police, as well as the restoration of crime intelligence capabilities and reinstating of specialised units dealing with violent crimes in the province.

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Bheki Cele

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