Bheki Cele’s World Cup jaunt: DA to PAIA information and submit Ethics Complaint

Issued by Okkie Terblanche MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police
06 Dec 2023 in News

In response to a DA parliamentary question, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, revealed that while his October holiday to the Rugby World Cup in France was sponsored by an unnamed “private company”, it was the taxpayers who funded the trip of his executive assistant – to the tune of R446 339.43.

His executive assistant had their flights, accommodation, and transport covered by the Ministry of Police, running up a tab of nearly half a million Rand.

The Minister was not forthcoming as to which private entity provided the all-expenses-paid trip and as such, the DA will submit a PAIA request to the Minister to ascertain some of the following information:

1. The name of the private entity;

2. Whether Cele’s assistant flew in business or first class, and stayed in 5-star hotels which were for the taxpayer’s dime;

3. What are the details with regards to the purpose of the assistant traveling to the World Cup;

4. Whether any additional expenses were paid for by the taxpayer for VIP protection; and

5. Whether the private company has any dealings with the SAPS or government;

The DA has submitted the PAIA application to ensure that these gifts were not provided by a company that is involved in the supply chain of SAPS equipment and/or other tenders, as such a gift would fall foul of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act 82 of 1998 (the Act) and its accompanying Code of Conduct.

At the same time, it is unfathomable that the Minister would allow almost half a million Rand to be spent on an assistant where SAPS already has budgetary restrictions, shortages of detectives, and dilapidated SAPS stations.

However, notwithstanding the above, it is clear that this trip was not part of Ministerial duties, as it was a privately funded trip, and as such, any staff member being covered by the taxpayer for a personal trip is in clear violation of the Act and Code of Conduct.

The Code states that a Member must at all times act in the interests of good governance; and may not act in a manner that exposes them to risks of conflict of interests; nor use their position to improperly benefit any other person. The DA will thus submit an ethics complaint in Parliament in the new year once Parliament resumes to hold Bheki Cele to account for the second time in as many months.

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