Visit to Nkandla aimed at preventing ‘disaster’ – Bheki Cele

Bheki Cele Jacob Zuma Nkandla visit
Jacob Zuma and Bheki Cele. Image credit: Twitter/Dudu Zuma-Sambudla

Police Minister Bheki Cele says his visit to former President Jacob Zuma at his Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday was aimed to preventing a “disaster.”

Cele was responding to questions from the media after presenting the third quarter national crime statistics covering the period between October and December 2020.

Zuma is ‘high profile’

He said Zuma is a “high-profile” individual, adding, “There are many cases where we visit if you can make a contribution to prevent that thing [arrest] to happen before it happens and becomes a disaster.

“It was on that score to speak to the former President – to raise concerns and hear his concerns and see where to take those concerns forward. For both as a responsible citizen of the country but as a person who has extra responsibility, that if things can be prevented, it is always much better than [to] react after those things have happened [sic].”

Zuma’s defiance of a Constitutional Court order compelling him to appear before the state capture commission of inquiry has sparked a flurry of visits to Nkandla, starting with EFF leader Julius Malema’s visit two weeks ago. There are reports that the ANC’s top 6 officials are also scheduled to visit Zuma.

The uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has camped at the former President’s home vowing to protect him from possible arrest.

Compliance with the law

On Thursday, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told Newzroom Afrika that Cele’s visit was aimed at ensuring compliance with the laws of South Africa.

“The Minister of Police has a responsibility to make sure there is compliance with the laws of this country and there is law and order. You know what is happening outside Nkandla – there are displays that are not allowed by law to happen, [such as] military fatigues that are worn,” she explained.

Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba tweeted on Thursday that Cele will “update the ANC leadership” on the outcome of his visit, sparking questions on whether he had blurred the lines between party and state.

In his media briefing, Cele suggested that the issues he had discussed with Zuma “crossed” the lines between the government and ANC.

He explained, “I am asked, did I manage to split myself? In that this half is ANC NEC and this half is the Minister. No. I would talk about things as they crossed to government and as they cross to ANC.

“I will not put [a] comma and full stop on that matter. We spoke about some several things including all other things that are prevailing but more so for me to be able to report back.”

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