Did Cele lie to Parliament on grabber tender scandal?

Issued by Andrew Whitfield MP – DA Shadow Minister of Police
08 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Andrew Whitflield MP.

Police Minister Bheki Cele may have misled Parliament when he stated that he was not involved in the unlawful procurement of phone call interception and surveillance devices.

This allegation comes after City Press this weekend reported that they obtained email confirmation that suggests the National Prosecuting Authority had not yet cleared Cele of any wrongdoing, which is the exact opposite of what Cele said to Members of Parliament in April.

Considering the seriousness of this claim and how poorly the Minister has performed at the helm of police services, the Democratic Alliance will call on the Chairperson of the Police Portfolio Committee in Parliament to have Cele account for these allegations and for the committee to investigate these claims. In addition, the DA will closely monitor the investigation from the Independent Directorate to ensure those implicated are brought to book.

The unlawful tender in question involved the spending of R112 million in 2019 on interception devices, called grabbers, as well as drones and mobile location vehicles.

To use these spying devices, grabbers had to be issued with exemption certifications by being categorised under “listed equipment” before being bought. It is believed that Cele attempted to obtain exemption certificates after the fact, however, exemption licenses must be obtained prior to purchase.

It has also been claimed that these spy devices, despite being unlawful and not allowed to operate, were still used to spy on politicians and journalists.

Cele’s alleged involvement in the deal came to light after the affidavit by suspended crime intelligence secret services chief financial officer, Brigadier Tiyani Hlungwani, implicated him.

With 82 murders and 136 rapes per day, occurring under the minister’s watch, South Africa can ill afford to continue tolerating his lacklustre performance and mismanagement of the SAPS. The DA calls on Ramaphosa to heed every South African and civil organisation’s plea and force Cele to step aside while these allegations remain. #celemustgo