Police Minister General Bheki Cele has told the South African Human Rights Commission’s hearings into July’s civil unrest that he was warned not to go near former President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home after his sentencing.

He says he was told that there were about 70 armed men that had gathered after the Constitutional Court judgment and sentencing of former President Zuma for contempt of court.

Cele’s testimony follows that of several high level police officials including KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

Cele said to the Commission that Zuma’s failure to honour the subpoena to appear at the Zondo Commission led to the unrest.

“We tried to stop them because they were many people already around the house there and the increase of the figures have given us extra problems there. We tried, there were few people and there was also a group of people coming from Mpumalanga province and we realised that it might cause some trouble so we let go again, one go the counselling from the president to say that any form, any point that can cause direct conflict, avoid it.”

SAHRC hearing into July unrest: 03 December 2021