Bheki Cele cripples Hawks watchdog while blaming Chief Justice

Issued by Andrew Whitfield MP – DA Shadow Minister of Police
22 Feb 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP

In a special report published earlier this week, it was revealed that the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has failed for nearly two years to appoint a Hawks watchdog. In terms of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act the Minister must appoint a retired Judge to lead the oversight of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations (DPCI), also known as the Hawks.

The Office of the DPCI judge is integral to the proper functioning of the Hawks. It stands as a first line of defence against malign external influences and political interference with the Hawks’ crucial mandate to investigate national priority offences and allegations of corruption.

The special report revealed that Cele has frustrated the independent body at every turn, from refusing to properly finance and staff the Office of the DPCI Judge, to refusing to extend the term of the previous DPCI Judge.

During a Police Portfolio Committee meeting held yesterday, Minister Cele said that the ball was in the court of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and the Chief Justice, who he blames for failing to meet with him to chart a way forward. Cele refused to take any responsibility for the delays in appointing the DPCI Judge in spite of this being his direct mandate in terms of the South African Police Service Act 68 of 1995.

The DA will now write to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police to request that the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and the Minister of Police appear before the Committee so that we can get to the bottom of the matter. Minister Cele is accountable to Parliament and to the people and he must come clean as to why he refuses to fill such a vital position.

While violent and organised crime spirals out of control, President Ramaphosa continues to cling to his failed Minister of Police. The vacancy of the DPCI Judge is a clear indication that the ANC government is not serious about fighting corruption and crime. Only a DA government can rescue South Africa and her citizens by building a safer country for all.

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