Police minister Bheki Cele has once again landed himself in hot water, this time for removing top cops from their posts at a training centre. They had reportedly refused to serve him pork at the halaal-accredited facility. Activists now want him to go.
“This is taking this mini dictatorship to a new level. We find this really worrying,” said community activist Imraahn Mukaddam in an interview on Salaamedia.
Mukaddam said Cele’s behaviour towards training commander Brigadier Paulus Mphenyeke and support services manager Colonel Freddie Bakker at the SAPS Tshwane Academy was concerning for more than one reason. First, he said, it was disrespectful towards Muslims and, secondly, it sent an undesirable message to students.
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Cele must go
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s police minister has come under fire for his remarks on several occasions. Be it an outburst towards community activists or apparent misogynistic remarks, Cele has said it all. The pork incident should be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, said Mukaddam.
“We should be calling for his head because this is only one of many situations where minister Bheki Cele is overstepping his authority. Being charged with law and order in this country and having this kind of disregard for values, as well as common decency … you cannot be minister of Police and have this kind of attitude,” he said.
The issue extended beyond an attack on Muslim values, he said. “It’s about how much power is vested in the minister’s position and that he actually has the authority to remove somebody that’s been in an education facility since 2008 and doing an excellent job.”
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Mukaddam further stated it was up to Islamic bodies to take a stand on the issue and demand that Cele must go. He called upon halaal bodies to write to the president to convey their distaste in his minister.
“It’s also time our halaal authorities take a unified stand – all seven of them – and write to the president and say this minister and his department have totally disregarded and disrespected the entire Muslim community by their actions.”
Essentially, he said, it was a matter of the minister “telling the halaal authority that ‘we don’t recognise you’ and ‘we don’t recognise the certifications you issue’. It is imperative for them to go to the president and say ‘we don’t accept this’.”
Mukaddam noted it was necessary for Islamic bodies to take a stand as well as for the broader South African society to call the minister out for his alleged actions.
Listen to the full interview here.