Blabbering police chief

AS SURE as the sun will rise from the east, police chief General Bheki Cele is never one to mince words. Never ever.

Some might argue that shooting from the hip - as the general is prone to do from time to time - comes with the territory. After all, the citizenry just love a no-nonsense cop who wags a finger at criminals, having bloodied their noses and sent them packing like wet chickens.

Problem with histrionics, though, is that one can sometimes go overboard where circumspection or modesty is required - as, not surprisingly, witnessed this week when Cele lashed British millionaire Shrien Dewani, suspected of having hired hitmen to kill his wife Anni, for "using South Africa as a murder zone".

Though understandably angry over the initial negative publicity generated by the incident, Cele should know better than to rush to pronounce Dewani's guilt before he is charged. Had he forgotten about the sanctity of the innocent-until-proven-guilty principle?

If he had not, he would not have blabbered that "Shrien thought we were stupid when he came all the way to kill his wife in our country" - something that is unwarranted.

Many had been similarly taken by surprise by the sudden twist which saw one of the accomplices confessing to the millionaire's role in the murder.

But few rushed to judge Dewani - at least publicly, as the Cele ill-advisedly did. Yet Anni's family showed commendable restraint. Which is what the general should do until the case is prosecuted and concluded.

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