THE Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday expressed concern amid growing speculation that the province's MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Bheki Cele will replace suspended national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.
DA spokesperson for community safety and liaison Sizwe Mchunu said Cele's promotion would be based on political connections rather than his ability to do the job.
"The DA has major reservations about his appointment to this position since he has no experience as a police officer," said Mchunu.
Mchunu said the DA felt strongly that more suitable candidates, such as Western Cape police commissioner Mzwandile Petros, had been overlooked since senior positions were handed out to those close to President Jacob Zuma.
"Many South Africans are living in fear of rampant crime. The only way to beat this is to ensure that our country's police force is effective - the person chosen to be at the helm is crucial in making this a reality," said Mchunu.
He said claims that Cele had beaten crime in KwaZulu-Natal were also "irresponsible and premature as crime levels in the province remain high".
Meanwhile, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said it was "blatant lies" that the party's provincial executive committee (PEC) had discussed the need to replace Cele following his impending appointment as national police commissioner at its meeting on Monday.
Provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the PEC met on Monday for its monthly meeting but the future of Cele was not on the agenda.
"The meeting instead focused on organisational matters and the protests and strikes that are currently being experienced countrywide. There is no way that the PEC in the province could have discussed the possible appointment of Cele or have been informed of his alleged move as the national police commissioner when President Jacob Zuma has not briefed his Cabinet," said Zikalala.
When contacted this week by Sowetan, Cele said he knew nothing about his appointment to the post and the first he had heard of such a development was in the media.