Durban - Police Minister Bheki Cele stuck to his guns and said he would not apologise for his conduct after an intense stand-off between himself and Ian Cameron during a community meeting to address crime in Gugulethu on Tuesday.
Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba told the publication on Wednesday that Cele would not apologise to Cameron or to the public, and that he stood by his utterances.
“Mr Ian Cameron was kicked out after he refused to give Minister Cele an opportunity to finish his response to Cameron and the other stakeholders’ inputs. Simply put: He was disruptive to the meeting and members of the Public Order Policing then kicked him out,” she said.
Themba was responding to the Land Party's demand that Cele issued a public apology to the person who was addressed him, exposing his failures as a minister of police.
In a statement, the party said that it was under Cele's watch that the Alfa neighbourhood watch (AfriForum neighbourhood watch) had been allowed to interfere with the work of the police.
“The minister allowed the AfriForum neighbourhood watch to take over from the police in Overstrand Hermanus. Now the minister is angry when he's been told the truth.
“The Land Party finds the police minister’s outburst as divisive, using race and apartheid as an excuse to his failures to combat crime.
“Therefore, the Land Party asked the minister to step down as a police minister as the party highlighted the minister's failure two years ago. The minister is a disaster and a failure to our police system and it is time for the minister to take responsibility and stop using his struggle credentials and his personal experience during apartheid,” read the statement.
The party said that Cele “must shut up and resign” and not continue bullying ordinary citizens when they expose "nonsense“ in the South African Police Service.
Cele lost his cool after Cameron, the director of a civil society organisation, questioned him about crime and said that his organisation assisted community members, and he urged Cele to do the same.
Cameron went on to say that Action Society had been called on to investigate cases of gender-based violence where police failed to obtain convictions. Cameron lashed out at Cele’s inability to assist in fighting crime.
In response, Cele spoke of how he had defended human rights during the Struggle and how he was sent to Robben Island for standing up to apartheid.
“Don’t teach me about human rights. Don’t tell me about the safety of my people. I fought for it, I nearly died for it. I was arrested for it, I was exiled for it,” Cele said, telling Cameron not to “provoke” him.
When Cameron tried to respond, Cele told him to “shut up" before he was escorted out by police.