Ramaphosa’s Cabinet must go: 5 Reasons for the DA’s Motion of No Confidence in Bheki Cele 

Issued by Andrew Whitfield MP – DA Shadow Minister of Police
08 Mar 2022 in News

 Please find an attached soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP 

On 14 February, following President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, the Leader of the DA, John Steenhuisen, tabled a Motion of No Confidence in the President’s Cabinet of Ministers. This was done in terms of Section 102 (1) of the Constitution.

If South Africa has any chance of turning the corner, away from the wasted years of state capture to years of growth and prosperity, this Cabinet that failed our nation must go.

Starting with the President’s KwaZulu-Natal Comrade, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele. The DA has long argued that there is simply no justifiable reason to keep Minister Cele in Cabinet. One of the promises the President committed to in his first term in office was to halve the incidents of violent crime. Yet, halfway through this term, the crime statistics repeatedly highlight that under the watch of Bheki Cele as Police Minister, SAPS is losing the war against violent crime.

Minister Cele’s power battles with the National Police Commissioner, General Kehla Sitole, have revealed his poor leadership ability and undermined effective policing. The failure of the SAPS to implement its crime prevention strategy and manage rampant criminality stems from the fact that cadres have been employed over honest and professional officers for too many years.

However, Minister Cele’s most catastrophic failure is his clear dereliction of duty during and after the riots in July 2021. The panel of experts report into the July unrest found that the security cluster, of which Police is a key component, failed to respond timeously to the unrest. Instead of taking responsibility for failing to protect lives and property that was lost during the unrest, Cele chose to play the blame game and accuse everyone other than himself for this glaring failure.

If this failure does not convince President Ramaphosa that the Police Minister must go, perhaps the following will:

  • Disarming law-abiding citizens – Instead of addressing violent crime, the proliferation of illegal firearms and the collapse of the Central Firearms Registry (CFR), Cele sponsored the controversial Firearms Control Amendment Bill which seeks to make gun ownership for self-defence illegal. Following sustained pressure by the public and the Democratic Alliance, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police decided to put a hold on processing the Bill. The fact that it has not been scrapped after proving that it is fatally flawed is an indictment on Cele himself.
  • DNA backlog – Despite repeated commitments to take action, Cele failed to eliminate the vast DNA backlog at the national forensic science laboratories. The DNA backlog still exceeds 200,000 cases. It is estimated that there is an average of 4 samples per case which would translate into approximately 1.2 million samples waiting to be analysed. This has been one of the greatest failures in the fight against violent crime and has never been as bad as it is under Minister Cele.
  • Failure to fully implement an effective Rural Safety Plan – despite launching a rural safety strategy in 2019 the SAPS has not made a tangible impact towards improving rural safety. The strategy launched by SAPS is a desktop exercise that has left our rural communities more vulnerable than ever before. Farmers and farmworkers have been left to fend for themselves while the Minister blames them instead of the violent organised criminals who often torture their victims before killing them.
  • Chaos at Crime Intelligence – A dangerous game of musical chairs at the top of crime intelligence has left the division rudderless. Minister Cele played a specific role in the chaos at CI when he refused to sign off on the secret service budget in December 2020. This has been cited in the panel of experts report as a cause of CI’s inability to fully anticipate the violent unrest in July 2021 as CI was rendered under-resourced by his decision.

Evidently, Mr Cele cannot be regarded as a vanguard of South Africa’s fight against crime; rather, he is a product of the ANC’s cadre deployment and political horse-trading – both of which are synonymous with the party.

He must go.