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Minister Bheki Cele Clarifies Use of Helicopter During ANC Manifesto Launch

Published February 29, 2024
3 months ago

In response to swirling controversy, Minister of Police Bheki Cele has addressed recent allegations regarding his transportation method to the African National Congress's (ANC) election manifesto event held at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Contrary to political rumors and public scrutiny, Cele has firmly denied arriving by helicopter to the high-profile occasion.

During a session in Parliament on Wednesday, the minister was compelled to clarify the situation after the Democratic Alliance (DA) and other parties accused him of exploiting police resources for a grand entrance at the ANC event. Cele set the record straight, asserting that his use of the helicopter was purely for official crime prevention activities in response to potential unrest in KwaMashu and Inanda, two townships on the outskirts of Durban.

The timeline of events outlined by Cele was clear: He arrived at the stadium at 6:15 am via official car, along with other ministers, and proceeded to a war room where they were briefed about emerging trouble spots. "The availability of reaching those areas to stop that trouble, as usual, we use a helicopter. It happened that way," stated Cele during the parliamentary session.

Cele underlined that his primary concern that day was maintaining law and order as the minister of police, a role which occasionally necessitates rapid transport to volatile areas – hence the use of the helicopter. Despite footage circulating of Cele both landing and boarding a helicopter, he emphasized that this occurred during a crime prevention operation, a regular aspect of his ministerial duties, not as a dramatic arrival at the manifesto launch.

Further defending his decision, Cele highlighted the need for the South African Police Service (SAPS) to swiftly mobilize to areas exhibiting signs of disturbance, especially during significant events like the ANC's manifesto launch. Efficiency in response time is of the essence, and air transport can often be the most effective means of achieving this.

The SAPS had a considerable presence at the event to supervise and secure the stadium along with surrounding locales, reaffirming the commitment to safety during politically charged gatherings. Through the clarification, Cele intends to dissuade concerns about misuse of police resources and refocus public attention on the service's core function – preventing and combating crime across South Africa.

Cele's significant public statement in Parliament not only serves to clear the air regarding his alleged entrance but also acts as a reminder of the high-intensity environment in which political and police figures operate, particularly around times of national events such as the ANC manifesto launch.

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