DA wants Public Protector to investigate Bheki Cele’s helicopter use

26th February 2024 By: Thabi Shomolekae - Creamer Media Senior Writer

DA wants Public Protector to investigate Bheki Cele’s helicopter use

Police Minster Bheki Cele

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday it wants the Public Protector to order Police Minister Bheki Cele to pay back the South African Police Service (Saps) costs incurred for his personal use of the police helicopter, including fuel, rental time, airport taxes and any other amounts.

This comes after Cele used an official Saps helicopter to get to the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) manifesto launch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal this weekend.

DA Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield said Cele not only acted in a manner that was “unbecoming of a Minister”, but that he used his position to unduly benefit himself and abuse resources, which were violations of the Ethics Code.

The DA noted that the Public Protector’s Office must order that the use of the Saps helicopter was for private/party use and not in accordance with Cele executing his functions as Minister.

“Cele continues to burn through taxpayer Rands for his personal benefit, something that is in direct contravention of the Executive Members' 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,” said Whitfield.

He said Cele’s “flagrant disregard” of the Ethics Code and abuses of power were indicative of the state that the country’s policing finds itself 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,” Whitfield added.

He highlighted that 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,” Whitfield said.

He said Cele’s tyrannical rule over the Saps must come to an end, and accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of protecting Cele to prevent any further exodus of ANC voters, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal.