Cele has previously been the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the change as part of his cabinet reshuffle Monday night.
Cele is just as flamboyant as his predecessor. He has been imprinted on the minds of South Africans as the man who encouraged South African police to shoot to kill.
The crime fighting portfolio is not new to Cele,who served as Police Commissioner from July 2009 to October 2011.
Cele was however fired by former President Jacob Zuma as police chief following an inquiry that found he had acted improperly in relation to two police lease deals signed with business tycoon Roux Shabangu.
There have been calls for him to be returned to the portfolio for what many lauded as his zero-tolerance approach towards criminals.