Parliament’s sanctioning over ‘shut up’ outburst laughable, says Cele
Police Minister Bheki Cele says he will challenge a recommendation from Parliament that he apologise for telling anti-crime activist lobbyist Ian Cameron to ‘shut up’.
On Monday, 2 October, Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests recommended that Police Minister Bheki Cele apologise to the House for his outburst at a July 2022 police imbizo aimed at anti-crime activist lobbyist Ian Cameron.
However, the committee’s report has not yet been adopted by the House, and it still has to appear before the National Assembly, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.
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At the imbizo, Cele yelled: “I’m not going to take any nonsense from someone who regards me as a garden boy today. Because you regard me as a garden boy. You come here; shut up, shut up, shut up.”
Wagging a finger, Cele said, “Don’t provoke me”, and “Sit down and listen”, before ordering Cameron out of the meeting.
On Tuesday, Cele, with National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola and Western Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile, addressed the media in Cape Town about crime in the Western Cape and provided an update on the police’s Operation Shanela.
At that briefing, Cele with a smirk on his face, said: “Parliament ethics committee decided there must be an apology. Find me guilty. What is even more laughable is sanctioning what Cele must do. Simply, we are taking this on review; we don’t agree with it. There are steps that can be taken going forward. We absolutely do not agree with the outcome. So the Minister of Police will take this to review.”
Cameron, responding to Cele’s unwillingness to apologise on Wednesday, told Daily Maverick: “When I listened to the video clip where Minister Cele said he is not going to apologise, I had a good laugh.
“If I were him, I would just acknowledge and apologise and move on swiftly and get over it.”
Recounting the incident that occurred in July 2022, Cameron said he never interrupted the minister while he was speaking. He interjected after seven individuals had spoken and after the minister indicated that Cameron thought of him as a yard boy.
Cameron said he would not be deterred by Cele’s reluctance to apologise, that he would not be silent and would continue to speak out against issues of injustice.
DA shadow deputy minister of police Okkie Terblanche slammed Cele’s conduct and said the actions of the minister were nothing more than that of a spoiled child who refused to take responsibility.
He said Cele told Parliament in no uncertain terms that he would refuse to obey its decision and apologise to Cameron.
“The minister has refused to simply apologise and will seek to take the decision on review, instead of focusing on crime – a job in which he is already failing miserably. His refusal comes on the back of 130 people murdered in the Western Cape alone in the last week of September.”
Terblanche said that while the minister did have the right to take matters on review, the DA would ensure that no public money was used in unnecessary court proceedings and that the Minister personally accounted for every single rand spent, as it had nothing to do with his duties as police minister.
“South Africa is in the grips of a bloodbath, where more murders occur than in war-torn countries. With the latest crime statistics, 74 people are murdered every day and we cannot have a minister who is more interested in vanity than doing his job,” Terblanche said. DM