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Bheki Cele
Bheki Cele at press conference on crime at World Cup 2010-06-29 2.jpg
Cele at a press conference in June 2010
Minister of Police
Assumed office
26 February 2018
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Preceded by Fikile Mbalula
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
In office
26 May 2014 – 24 February 2018
President Jacob Zuma
Cyril Ramaphosa
Minister Senzeni Zokwana
National Commissioner of the South African Police Service
In office
July 2009 – October 2011
President Jacob Zuma
Minister Nathi Mthethwa
Preceded by Jackie Selebi
Succeeded by Riah Phiyega
Deputy Provincial Secretary of the African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal
In office
Provincial Chairperson Jacob Zuma
Provincial Secretary Sipho Gcabashe
Preceded by Sifiso Nkabinde
Succeeded by Senzo Mchunu
Personal details
Bhekokwakhe Hamilton Cele

(1952-04-22) 22 April 1952 (age 71)
Umzumbe, Natal, Union of South Africa
Political party African National Congress
Thando Ngcobo
Thembeka Ngcobo
(m. 2010)
  • Politician
  • legislator
  • police officer

  • military veteran

  • anti-apartheid activist
Profession Teacher
Military service
Allegiance Union of South Africa
Branch/service Umkhonto We Sizwe
Years of service 1984 – 1994
Unit Underground unit
Commands South African National Defence Force
Police career
Department South African Police Service
Department of Police (South Africa)
Years of service 2009 – present
Rank General

Bhekokwakhe "Bheki" Hamilton Cele (born 22 April 1952) has been the South African Minister of Police since February 2018. He was National Commissioner of the South African Police Service for two years, until misconduct allegations led to his suspension in October 2011 and removal in June 2012. He has also served as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, on the KwaZulu-Natal Executive Council, and in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature. He is a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, and was imprisoned on Robben Island during apartheid.

Life and career

Cele was born on 22 April 1952 in Umzumbe, Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal). He holds a teacher's diploma, and in 1980 became a founding member of the progressive, non-racial National Education Union of South Africa. In exile in Angola in the mid-1980s, he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe, and he was imprisoned on Robben Island from 1987 until he was released, along with other political prisoners, in 1990.

1994-2009: KwaZulu-Natal government

In the 1994 elections, Cele was elected to the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature. During his time in the legislature, he served as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security and later as the chairperson of chairpersons. From 2004, he was member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal.

2009-present: National government

In July 2009, he was appointed National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS). He was fired in June 2012, following allegations that he had been involved in unlawful property deals. Thereafter, he was Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries from May 2014 until late February 2018, when President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed him Minister of Police in his first cabinet reshuffle. Reaction to Cele's appointment was mixed.

ANC membership

Cele remains a member of the African National Congress (ANC), and currently serves in its chief executive organ, the National Executive Committee. For a period in the mid-1990s, he was safety and security spokesman for the party's KwaZulu-Natal branch, and in the 2000s he served as party chairman in the eThekwini region. In the 2000s, Cele was characterised as an ally of Jacob Zuma. However, during the hotly contested ANC leadership elections of 2017, he aligned himself with Cyril Ramaphosa and against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

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