The only way Bheki Cele could have endured a more acrimonious day at the beach is if he left Camps Bay on Wednesday with a jellyfish sting. The visit was mired in controversy from the start, with critics questioning his decision to patrol the seafront. The situation unravelled rapidly – after the minister got into a confrontation with JP Smit.
The Minister of police further went on to shut down a multi-million rand commercial that was being filmed on the sands of Camps Bay, saying it is against lockdown regulations. Cele was not happy to see the shoot, leading to a strong exchange between him and the City’s Safety and Security MMC JP Smith. The city said it had already approved the activity.
According to Smith, the city wants courts to force the minister from interfering in its affairs. “Our industries have already had national government’s boot on its neck. We are operating responsibly within the confines of the regulations, we are trying to get these open and working as best as we can,” said Smith.
— Sisonke Mlamla (@SISONKE_MD) December 16, 2020
Both the Eastern Cape and KZN have also had their coastlines closed down by the government, but the Western Cape is fighting back. Andrew Whitfield, the DA’s shadow police minister, is leading the response from the opposition’s national benches. He confirmed that the party will try and force ‘Cowboy Cele’ to face a hearing in the National Assembly.
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“The Democratic Alliance (DA) will lay a complaint with Parliament’s Ethics Committee against the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, after he appeared to issue unlawful operational instructions to South African Police Service (SAPS) officials to shut down a film shoot at Camps Bay beach on Wednesday.”
“Minister Cele reportedly instructed 16 police officers to shut down the shoot, despite the filming crew being in possession of a legal permit from the City of Cape Town. We believe that these instructions by Cele was an overreach of his powers as Police Minister and that he is not legally authorised to issue operational instructions to members of the SAPS.”
“In what seems to be a clear attempt by the Minister to grandstand in front of the cameras, he completely disregarded his Ministerial mandate and the extent of his authority. The people of South Africa are tired of Cele’s cavalier cowboy antics,” Andrew Whitfield said.
We believe that these instructions by Cele was an overreach of his powers as Police Minister and that he is not legally authorised to issue operational instructions to members of the SAPS.
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) December 17, 2020