Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cele's jet use justified and efficient: police

Political economy
27 July 2011 00:19
Cele's jet use justified and efficient: police

Used the jet for 47 trips at a cost of R1.498m.
Police chief General Bheki Cele's use of the police jet to travel around the country is justified and an efficient mode of transport, the police said on Tuesday.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question on Tuesday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said Cele's use of the jet for 47 trips, including four abroad, cost R1.498 million between August 2008 and May 30 this year.

The Democratic Alliance's spokeswoman on police, Dianne Kohler-Barnard, said this underscored "the disregard that commissioner Cele has repeatedly displayed for accountability, professional conduct, and prudent use of state funds".

In a statement later, the police said the facts were being "blatantly ignored by certain individuals".

It said Cele never undertook such trips on his own and was always accompanied by members of management, meaning there were usually eight passengers on the jet.

Should Cele undertake a trip on his own he would use a commercial airline.

"These trips are often undertaken on very short notice and commercial flights are not always available to transport the national commissioner and senior officers to the destination where they have to perform official duties," the police said.

When police management had to attend official duties out of Gauteng and had to return to head office for other commitments on the same day, the use of the jet was more economical in terms of time spent travelling to and from international airports as well as waiting for flights.

The police said the period in question included the run-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, when it was necessary for Cele and police management to check on the operational plans and state of readiness of all provinces to host a safe and secure event.

Also during this period, Cele and his management visited each province where they inspected 126 police stations and held national management meetings.

"This, with the aim of improving service delivery to the communities and addressing challenges faced by members of the [SA Police Service (SAPS)] at grass-roots level."

The fact that these visits were undertaken had been widely publicised.

All plans relating to, and the roll-out of the countrywide Safer Festive Season operations, which were also successful, were also implemented during this period.

"It must also be stressed most emphatically that the police jet, and other police-owned aircraft, are not used exclusively by the national commissioner and top management," the police said.

"These aircraft are used for operational members of the SAPS, for example to transport members of the Special Task Force to high-risk situations anywhere in the country as well as to convey detectives, crime scene experts and forensic analysts to crime scenes anywhere in the country.

"When one takes all the above into consideration, one can only reach the conclusion that certain elements are hasty in their rush to condemn, criticise, and vilify the national commissioner.

"Over the period of time during which these trips were undertaken, the police jet was the most efficient means of transportation in terms of cost effectiveness and effective time management."

( moneyweb)

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