Bheki Cele

Bhekokwakhe "Bheki" John Cele (born 22 February 1952) is the South African Minister of the Police, appointed on 26 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 [1] He 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 he held the post of Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Transport, Safety and Security in KwaZulu-Natal[2] after holding various other portfolios in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.[3] He is a member of the African National Congress.

Bheki Cele

Bheki Cele at press conference on crime at World Cup 2010-06-29 1.jpg
Cele at a press conference in June 2010
Minister of Police
Assumed office
26 February 2018
PresidentCyril Ramaphosa
Preceded byFikile Mbalula
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
In office
26 May 2014 – 24 February 2018
PresidentJacob Zuma
Cyril Ramaphosa
MinisterSenzeni Zokwana
National Commissioner of the South African Police Service
In office
July 2009 – October 2011
PresidentJacob Zuma
MinisterNathi Mthethwa
Preceded byJackie Selebi
Succeeded byRiah Phiyega
Personal details
Bhekokwakhe Hamilton Cele

(1952-02-22) 22 February 1952 (age 69)
Umzumbe, South Africa
Political partyAfrican National Congress
Spouse(s)Thembeka Ngcobo
  • Politician
  • anti-apartheid activist
Police career
DepartmentSouth African Police Service
Department of Police (South Africa)
Service years2009–present

Cele was appointed as the Police Minister by newly appointed President Cyril Ramaphosa, during his cabinet reshuffle at the end of February 2018.[4]


Bheki Cele holds a teacher's diploma.[5][6]

Charges of corruption

Bheki Cele was under investigation following the discovery of evidence showing that R1.7 billion rand spent on building leases were unlawful, improper and constituted maladministration.[7] Though suspended, South African taxpayers continued to spend at least R1.3-million a year on his salary, until he was finally dismissed by President Jacob Zuma in June 2013.[8][9]

Conflict with Inkatha Freedom Party

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 province.[10]

2009 NEHAWU strike

Cele 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 KwaZulu-Natal department of transport official Chris Hlabisa. According to Nehawu's Vusi Gama, they suspended the strike, which had been organised to call for Hlabisa's sacking, after asking for a meeting with Cele.[11]

Comments to SAPS

In August 2009, Cele said that he want the law to be changed to allow police to "shoot to kill" criminals without worrying about "what happens after that". Police must shoot to kill, worry later (Cele) -

In September 2010, Cele made comments regarding the SAPS, telling them to "shape up or ship out",[12] and saying "when you walk down the street, people must envy your body." One of his comments, "Stomach in, chest out",[13] has become viral in South Africa and has inspired several techno remixes using audio from his speech.[14]

Gun control

Bheki Cele has vowed his desire to disarm legally armed South African gun owners.[15]

Beach control

In December 2020, Bheki Cele took control of all beaches in South Africa[16] in an attempt to curb the third and fourth waves of the coronavirus pandemic.[17]

See also


  1. ^ "Bheki Cele suspended over lease saga". News24. October 2011.
  2. ^ "Ex-MEC known as man of action". Cape Argust. 30 July 2009.
  3. ^ by South African President Jacob Zuma of new National Police Commissioner, Pretoria, 29 July 2009
  4. ^ "News24 Live Feed". News 24. Archived from the original on 9 November 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Bheki Cele, Gen | South African Government". Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  6. ^ "EduConnect". Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Cele 'fingerprints' all over KZN lease". Mail & Guardian. 24 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Suspended Cele earns R1.3m". Mail & Guardian. 20 November 2011.
  9. ^ "South Africa police chief Bheki Cele fired by Jacob Zuma". BBC. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  10. ^ "IFP Press Statement: "Cele's Comments Typifies an Irresponsible KZN ANC"". Inkatha Freedom Party. 9 April 2009.
  11. ^ Memela, Mhlaba (8 April 2009). "Nehawu strike off". The Sowetan. Archived from the original on 9 August 2009.
  12. ^ Plessis, Carien Du (23 September 2011). "Zuma to Cele: Tell me why you shouldn't leave". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Bheki Cele expresses wish to disarm all private citizens in SA". The Citizen. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  16. ^ "Crime-riddled communities criticise excessive policing of Cape Town beaches". Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  17. ^ "SA may suffer 'third, even fourth wave of COVID' - with longer lockdowns". The South African. 11 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
Preceded by
Jackie Selebi
National Commissioner of the South African Police Service
Succeeded by
Riah Phiyega