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Bheki Cele| 25 Things You Didn’t Know About Bheki Cele
In today’s article, we’ll be focusing on things you didn’t know about Bheki Cele. All about his life and career, and everything that has surfaced around him. Bhekokwakhe “Bheki” Hamilton Cele was born on the 22nd of February, 1952, in Umzumbe, South Africa. He is the current South African Minister of Police, a post he held since 26th February 2018.
He was previously the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service until October 2011, when he was suspended from duty, due to allegations of corruption. He was appointed to this position in July 2009, replacing Jackie Selebi, who was suspended in January 2008 following charges of corruption.
Bheki Cele has held the post of Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Transport, Safety, and Security in KwaZulu-Natal after holding various other portfolios in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government. Initially, General Bheki Cele was dismissed as the national police chief back in 2012 by the then president, Jacob Zuma. Despite this, in November 2013, he was placed on the ANC’s list of preferred candidates to go to parliament. So to say, one other thing to know about Bheki Cele is that he is a member of the African National Congress.
He referred to the board of inquiry mandated to establish whether Cele acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals signed with business tycoon Roux Shabangu—one for a building in Pretoria, another for a building in Durban. “The board found General Cele to be unfit for office and has recommended his removal from office in terms of the provisions of section 8(6)(b)(v) of the South African Police Service Act No. 68 of 1995,” said Zuma. Cele was appointed as the Police Minister by newly-appointed President Cyril Ramaphosa, during his cabinet reshuffle at the end of February 2018.
All You Need to Know About Bheki Cele
We’ll be taking a look at the personality, positions, and all the activities been carried out by Bheki Cele. Now read further below to still know about Bheki Cele.
About the Personality of Bheki Cele
Bheki Cele is considered as a man of authority and an extraordinary character. He always has this onus of making himself known as a man of power.
Let’s take a good look about his life and personality:
- Bheki Cele was born on the 22nd of February, 1952 (67 years) in Umumzube, South Africa.
- He holds a diploma in education and has a wide range of experience in the education field.
- He is married to Thembeka Ngcobo, and they have been staying together since 2010 after officially becoming husband and wife on the 2nd of October, 2010 at Lynton Hall in KwaZulu- Natal.
- He lives a luxury lifestyle with an expensive taste, with a house that is approximately about R3.4 million, located at the suburb of Pretoria.
- Bheki Cele is a huge believer in having a fighting-fit force at his disposal. So he leads the charge against pot-bellies in 2011 when he demanded that all police officers must have “enviable” bodies to do their job correctly. He coined the term “stomach in, chest out” and it struck a chord with the South African public, even spawning a few techno-remixes along the way.
- He makes sure that his Assistant wears a smaller hat than his. Although, he’s rarely seen without a hat, and he’s made it his trademark. It’s not clear why Bheki Cele wears his hat everywhere he goes, other than to complete the look of a cowboy on the hunt for outlaws. Spare a thought for his assistant Lennit Max, however. He recently admitted that he’s also a man for the headgear, but to avoid any sort of power struggle, he has to ensure his hat is smaller:
Positions He Has Held Till Now
One other key fact to know about Bheki Cele is the fact that he’s this kind of person that always goes for what he wants, by grabbing any opportunity that presents itself. Irrespective of the fact that he did not succeed in his quest of becoming a parliamentarian, but he was very optimistic and kept his faith up. And today, he’s been recognized as one of the most prominent persons in South Africa. Now let’s take a look at some of his key positions in the country:
- Bheki Cele was the founding member of the National Education Union of South Africa.
- He was previously the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service until October 2011, when he was suspended from duty, due to allegations of corruption, and was appointed to this position in July 2009, replacing Jackie Selebi, who was suspended in January 2008 following charges of corruption.
- From 2004 to 2009, Bheki Cele has held the post of Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Transport, Safety and Security in KwaZulu-Natal after holding various other portfolios in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.
- He has also served as the head of the South African Police Service.
- General Bheki Cele was dismissed as the national police chief back in 2012 by the then president, Jacob Zuma for a corruption scandal.
- Irrespective of the scandals, he was still placed on the ANC’s list of preferred candidates to go to parliament in November 2013.
- Bheki Cele is currently a member of the African National Congress Political Party.
- He is the current South Africa Minister of Police since 26th February 2018 – Present, appointed by the current president, Cyril Ramaphosa.
His Notable Activities in Government So Far
Bheki Cele is a very prominent person in the South African Police and holds the most key ministerial position in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration. Bheki Cele returned to a government role in policing, six years after Jacob Zuma fired him, due to Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle.
Cele came in to replace Fikile Mbalula, who served just 11 months in the position. Mbaks was known more for his antics on Twitter than his actual police work, and he even used the social media site to congratulate the man replacing him.
Now let’s highlight Bheki Cele’s activities in the South African government so far:
- Bheki Cele is under investigation, as evidence shows R1.7 billion rand spent on building leases were unlawful, improper, and constituted maladministration. Though suspended, South African taxpayers spend at least R1.3-million a year on his salary.
- In April 2009 he drew criticism for comments made at a rally in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, about the Inkatha Freedom Party, and its leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The remarks, insinuating IFP propagation of illicit weaponry, were made against a background of political tension and violence in the Natal province.
- Cele also played a role in the suspension of a three-day strike of the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) over the failure to address their concerns regarding the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport official Chris Hlabisa. According to Nehawu’s Vusi Gama, they suspended the strike, which had been organized to call for Hlabisa’s sacking, after asking for a meeting with Cele.
- In September 2010, Cele made comments regarding the SAPS, telling them to “shape up or ship out”, and saying “when you walk down the street, people must envy your body.” One of his comments, “Stomach in, chest out”, has become viral in South Africa and has inspired several techno remixes using audio from his speech.
- Bheki Cele has vowed his desire to disarm legally armed South African gun owners.
- In January 2014, he attempted to delay the South African Public Protector’s report on wasteful expenditure at Nkandla – President Jacob Zuma’s private homestead.
- Public Protector Thuli Madonsela uncovered his role in a legally-dubious leasing operation. Cele was heavily involved with building vendors Roux Shabungu, who was leasing property to the police at extortionate rates. At the time, Madonsela labeled Cele’s conduct as “improper, unlawful and amounting to maladministration”.
- Cele particularly found his voice in the run-up to the ANC’s 54th Elective Conference back in December 2017. He publicly denounced Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as a Gupta stooge and demanded Jacob Zuma faces accountability for his role in state corruption.
- Cele’s clearest nemesis is Ace Magashule. He’s identified him as being “too close for comfort” with the Gupta family. The new Police Minister even used the ANC’s 106th birthday celebrations to deride Magashule.
- Simon Wright, of the Daily Mirror, threatened Cele with legal action for allegedly defaming him after his arrest during the FIFA World Cup. The journalist was arrested after being accused of helping to stage a security breach at Cape Town Stadium with Pavlos Joseph – the British fan who was taken into custody for wandering into the English football team’s changing room. Wright’s lawyer William Booth said he sent a letter of demand for R50 million to Cele.
- As of 2019, Cele picked apart the nature of state capture and attacked the architects behind the corruption. It’s fair to say, he’ll be happy to see the back of the Guptas: He said, “Guptas are right, left and center. Where do we govern if CVs were sent to the Guptas first? Guptas must leave us alone, they must leave the country. They must leave with their friends. We didn’t go to exile, jail for the Guptas.”