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Opposition parties take aim at Bheki Cele’s ministerial appointment

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On Tuesday, 27 February, several South African opposition parties, including the Congresss of the People (Cope), Democratic Alliance (DA), and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), expressed their displeasure at the recent appointment of Bheki Cele as the Minister of Police.

Cope said it noted “with dismay that former Police Commissioner Bheki Cele who was dismissed under a cloud of corruption from the post has now been returned as the Minister of Police.”

The party also questioned President Cyril Ramaphosa’s purported “new dawn” – a reference to a mantra that has come to synonymous with Ramphosa first weeks in office, saying “it seems that the new dawn turned out to be a false dawn and that South Africans will have to wait to see and feel the sunshine.

The DA on the other hand, slammed Cele’s appointment, dismissing it as a “sham,” and argued that his appointment was “entirely irrational” as “his tenure as National Police Commissioner was nothing short of shambolic and all indications are that his tenure as Minister will be more of the same.”

Zakhele Mbhele, who is a DA Member of Parliament, and speaks on Police matters on behalf of the party, believes that “with Minister Cele at the helm, the shambolic state of the SAPS [South African Police Service] will only continue to deteriorate and the ultimate victims will be the hundreds of thousands of South Africans, including SAPS members, who will fall victim to crime.”

Another party, the FF+, labelled Cele’s appointment as “a step back for policing in South Africa” and according to the leader of the party, Dr Pieter Groenewald, the appointment of Cele is akin to “one cowboy, Fikile Mbalula” being replaced “with another one, Bheki Cele.”

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