In a parliamentary question, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen asked President Cyril Ramaphosa what conditions would be necessary for him to dismiss the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele. Steenhuisen introduced this question by discussing the cost of lodging and food for the police ministry as well as the level of crime in South Africa.
STEENHUISEN WISHES TO KILL BHEKI CELE
Steenhuisen said that since Bheki Cele was appointed police minister on February 26, 2018, the South African Police Service (SAPS) had spent R600 million annually. This equates to an average daily expenditure of R1.4 million.
The opposition leader said that throughout the same time period, the number of police officers, detectives, and reserve officers had decreased. While this is going on, South African residents are “raped and killed.”
“…what conditions need to pertain before he will consider replacing the Minister of Police with someone who is able to provide the leadership that the Republic’s police service so desperately requires, if this approach to allocating scarce public resources and the current crime levels do not constitute sufficient reason?” asked Steenhuisen.
In response, Ramaphosa said that the expenses for lodging and meals at the time were expended in order to carry out the constitutional and statutory duties of the police. He did not answer, however, when asked under what “conditions” he would fire the Minister.
The President said that the expense of maintaining a police department often includes meals and lodging.
He provided examples of when operational and deployment needs might necessitate officials to be housed away from their regular location of employment. According to the president, recent instances include “public order interventions in numerous provinces, protecting the national and municipal elections, deployments in reaction to COVID-19, and deployments to police the July 2021 disturbance.”
Ramaphosa said, “There is no justification for replacing a Minister on the basis of spending that is part of the operating necessities of a police agency.
DA Complaints Are Not “Based on Facts,” the Ministry Declares
The DA has long demanded Cele’s termination. Hundreds of protesters marched to his office in Tshwane on September 6 and asked that he be fired.
The spokeswoman for the police ministry responded to the march by claiming that “the DA’s statements are not founded on facts.”
According to Themba, the funds the party is referring to are used to combat crime. The police ministry gets the lowest portion of the entire SAPS budget, according to the breakdown of the legislative budget supplied by the ministry, she said.
Therefore, it is untrue that the ministry, much less the minister, spends this much on catering. This allegation by the DA can only be seen as a cynical ploy to get attention; instead, the party ought to focus its efforts on finding methods to make communities safer by collaborating with the ministry and SAPS, said Themba to the Cape Times.