Bheki Cele denies animosity between him and Khehla Sitole as MPs question police instability
Police minister Bheki Cele says there is no animosity between him and national commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole.
The relationship between Cele and Sitole came into the spotlight when some MPs blamed instability in the police service on political interference in appointments and the rocky relationship between the minister and the commissioner.
On Thursday Cele told the policing portfolio committee this was not true.
“The national commissioner and I are not friends. We don’t drink coffee together, but let me assure you, we work together. If you want to see our phones, we call one another almost daily and ask questions on matters.
“In that work there are things we do not agree upon, but it is not animosity. We are not fighting. We work together. To say we are chaos and don’t work well together, I do not agree with that,” said Cele.
ANC MP Princess Faku said there is dysfunctionality within police management and called on Sitole to ensure officers are skilled for their roles. She said the recent unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng could have been averted.
“We can talk about the issue of budget but if there is dysfunctionality within the police service, no budget is going to assist in making sure things are done correctly,” said Faku.
Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) president Kebby Maphatsoe said: “The instability we are talking about is that the police commissioner must play his role and the police minister must play his role.
“The sooner they finalise the issue of restructuring, the sooner we will have stability in the police service.”
On Thursday SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE reported President Cyril Ramaphosa is considering reshuffling his cabinet after some ministers failed to impress during the unrest. Among these are state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo and Cele, who contradicted each other publicly about efforts to quell the unrest.
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