Cele's fight with Zuma to continue

Graeme Hosken

DISGRACED former police chief Bheki Cele, now a deputy minister, is continuing his legal fight against President Jacob Zuma for firing him.

Claiming that the president was set up, Cele's lawyers said yesterday their instruction was to persist with the two-year court battle.

Cele, who on Sunday was appointed Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Deputy Minister, was fired in 2012 after becoming embroiled in a R1.78-billion building lease scandal with property tycoon Roux Shabangu.

The lease was for a new national police headquarters in Pretoria and a provincial headquarters in Durban.

Khoza said both legal parties were discussing the exchange of heads of argument.

"Once this is done, a court date will be decided on."

Khoza said their argument had been that public protector Thuli Madonsela got it wrong when she found that Cele and former public works minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde acted improperly and unlawfully, and that the lease deals were illegal and invalid.

A judicial commission of inquiry recommending Cele's dismissal was based on Madonsela's finding. He turned to the courts calling for a judicial review of Zuma's decision.

Cele's spokesman, Vuyo Mkhize, said: "Given his reasons for launching the court actions in the first place, I don't believe his appointment changes anything."