A report by the Sunday Times revealed Sitole was given his marching orders because of his political links and concerns that he may not implement the recommendations of the Zondo state capture commission, according to a senior source in the Union Buildings.
“We removed Khehla because, first, he will not implement the recommendations of the Zondo commission because his name is mentioned. Second, he is too loyal to DD (David Mabuza), Ace [Magashule], and [Fikile] Mbalula,” the source said.
“They worked closely with Mbalula towards the 2017 ANC conference. His relationship with DD dates back to the days he was working in Mpumalanga before he moved to the Free State. He is very close to Ace because he was based in the Free State.”
The source said the presidency was going to give Cele “space to appoint someone he trusts”.
While a number of names have been thrown into the hat to replace Sitole, KZN provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi — who has been dubbed as one of the front runners in the race for SA's top cop — would not be drawn to comment on the matter when questioned by TimesLIVE.
Mkhwanazi laughed off the notion that he could be considered as a possible replacement for Sitole, having served as acting national commissioner between 2011 and 2012.