Mixed reactions to Bheki Cele’s appointment as police minister


Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has welcomed the appointment of Bheki Cele as Police minister saying this move would tackle service delivery problems crippling the ministry.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced changes to his cabinet which saw the former police commissioner returning to the police ministry.

Popcru’s spokesperson, Richard Mamabolo said: “Common among them is that they inherit ministries which are faced with multiple challenges that continue to hamper on service delivery and lack of credibility. It is within this context that we look forward to working with them in bringing the criminal justice cluster into a stable condition. We want to particularly welcome the appointed ministers who will be serving within the criminal justice cluster, namely the Minister of Police Bheki Cele.”

Mamabolo said that they hoped that Cele would be able to tackle police killings and reduce the number of people at management level.

“We note that the new police minister is not necessarily new in this terrain as he has served at an operational level. With his previous experience, we are surely anticipating speedy action into effecting the restructuring process which should, amongst other things, trim the top-heavy management at both head office and provincial offices, and ensure that manpower is beefed up at station level. This should be done through proper collective bargaining channels. We are confident that he will also look closer into curbing the continued senseless police killings that have marred our country,” he said.

DA’s police spokesperson, Zakhele Mbhele on Tuesday described Cele’s appointment as unreasonable.

“It is a shame that such an irresponsible figure, who famously and recklessly instructed the police to be trigger-happy and “shoot to kill” has now been put in charge of ensuring the SAPS is a responsive and professional police service.

For years, the DA has highlighted how vital good SAPS leadership is but Minister Cele’s blemished track record of inflammatory statements and allegations of corruption shows how detached the ANC government is from our people’s plight,” Mbhele said.

In 2009, Cele was criticised when he said that police should be allowed to “shoot to kill” criminals.