Agricultural Union TLU SA has again asked President Cyril Ramaphosa and the portfolio committee on police to relieve the minister of police, Bheki Cele, from his duties.
“During the past week of unrest, and under the failing management of the police minister, more than one million rounds of ammunition were stolen from a container yard near the Durban port while under the care of the police. Cele still denies that the bullets were under the supervision of the police,” TLU SA said in a statement.
“Actually, it does not matter under whose supervision this happened,” said Henry Geldenhuys, the president of TLU SA. “Thieves stole the bullets, and very little has been recovered. However, if it did indeed happen under the supervision of the police, we want to know how it happened, who did it, and how the government will act against the guilty parties and Cele.
“Either way, we are still very concerned about where the ammunition will turn up and how much damage it will do.”
The owner of the destined business said the police dragged their feet in permitting the cargo to leave the port. He said they usually receive permission to leave the dock and then undergoes inspection in Pretoria or Johannesburg. They have been importing ammunition for 55 years. But this time, the authorities insisted the assessment be done in Durban.
“This correlates with allegations that police members with knowledge of the container’s content tipped off the thieves. The Hawks are investigating this claim,” Geldenhuys said.
Cele also said that they had found 10,000 rounds of ammunition stolen from another firearm store in Durban – while he was in Durban himself – but other sources suggest they are a portion of the bullets stolen from the container.
“TLU SA also finds the police’s handling of the unrest completely unacceptable. Especially where they tried to stop communities from protecting themselves, as happened in Phoenix in KwaZulu-Natal,” Geldenhuys said.
“We do not accept the minister’s weak excuses when something goes wrong in his department. Sometimes he even blatantly lies. How many times will the government accept the actions of someone in this position before realising he is not capable of doing this critical job?”
TLU SA’s campaign to have Cele fired can be viewed at: https://www.tlu.co.za/en/tsamaea-cele-eng/