Police Minister, Bheki Cele, says he will continue to engage with the National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole, after a scathing letter, written by Cele to Sitole about high-level appointments, found its way into the public domain.
Both Cele and Sitole attended a memorial service of four police members who died in a car accident near Ngcobo last week.
Constables Lungelo Nogqala, Mkhuseli Lila and Buqaqawuli Nyembezi and Secretary, Ntombikayise Landu were involved in the accident, which also claimed the life of a civilian.
They had conducted gender-based violence campaigns in the Chris Hani district.
The published letter from Cele to Sitole stated that the Police Commissioner had ignored instructions from the Minister regarding senior appointments in the police.
Cele did not dispute the contents of the letter, saying it was not out of the ordinary.
“The action is one. You discuss with the National Commissioner. This is one of the many letters that we exchange. This one was lucky that it finds itself in the media, but there’s nothing unusual about it.”
Commissioner Sithole refused to comment on the matter.
The police members who died in the accident were lauded. But their families are struggling.
Bongani Nyembezi speaking on behalf of one of the deceased’s family says, “He was a man who loved to make everyone happy. He played a key role in our family as a problem solver. He was taken too early as he had a lot still to do.”
A family member speaking on behalf of the Lila family says Mkhuseli Lila was a respectful person.
“He was a very respectful young man. He meant a lot to me. His passing broke me”.
The specific area the members worked in, did not go unnoticed.
General Bheki Cele says the four SAPS members died fighting for the prevention of gender-based violence.
“That’s what we’d love to hear about our members, but more than that they died fighting for crime prevention – the prevention of gender-based violence. That’s why we say it’s a national loss. That’s what we want to see and hear about our members.”
Police members also called on the minister to review the death compensation fund.
Cele, Sitole to engage over high-level appointments in the police force: