DA asks Public Protector to clip Bheki Cele’s wings following his SAPS helicopter joyride

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

Today, the Democratic Alliance submitted a complaint with the Office of the Public Protector against Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, for his flagrant disregard of taxpayer funds, when he used an official SAPS helicopter to transport him to the ANC’s manifesto launch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in KZN this weekend.

Cele continues to burn through taxpayer Rands for his personal benefit, something that is in direct contravention of the Executive Members’ Ethics Code (“Ethics Code”). This is the second time in quick succession that Cele has abused taxpayer funds. Just last year, hundreds of thousands of Rands were spent on his personal assistant to travel with him to the Rugby World Cup Final in France– despite it being a privately funded trip. The Public Protector is already investigating this matter as well.

Minister Cele’s flagrant disregard of the Ethics Code and abuses of power are indicative of the state that we find our policing in. With forever increasing crime rates, SAPS members around the country are pleading for more resources to combat crime – yet here we have a Minister using vital state resources as his own personal taxi.

Cele not only acted in a manner that is unbecoming of a Minister, but used his position to unduly benefit himself and abuse resources – clear violations in terms of the Ethics Code. As such, the DA has requested the Public Protector’s Office to investigate and make a ruling as follows:

1. That the use of the SAPS helicopter was for private/party use and not in accordance with executing his functions as Minister

2. That Bheki Cele be ordered to pay back to SAPS all amounts that were incurred as a result of the personal use of the helicopter, including fuel, rental time, airport taxes and any other amounts incurred as a result.

A Minister of Police has only executive oversight powers and is not responsible for any “on the ground operation”, despite what Cele said in various interviews. It is clear that he was at the stadium in his capacity as an ANC member, and any use of state resources is strictly prohibited.

Bheki Cele’s tyrannical rule over SAPS must come to and end. With President Ramaphosa protecting Cele at every turn in order to prevent any further exodus of ANC voters, especially in KZN, the only way to remove Cele would be to remove the ANC from power all together. Its time that a DA government steps in and re-energises a completely decimated SAPS.