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“He basically just lost it,” says Action Society’s Ian Cameron on Bheki Cele

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By: Aneeqa du Plessis

Director at civil rights organization Action Society, Ian Cameron said he will take legal action against National Police minister Bheki Cele after he was manhandled and removed from a community meeting discussing policing issues with residents from Gugulethu and Nyanga. According to Cameron, the minister is playing dirty politics, politicizing crime and is diverting from the real issues communities are facing in the Western Cape.

“You are failing your own Constitution and not fulfilling your mandate to safeguard [these communities]. I don’t see you patrolling the area at night with the people here,” Cameron told Cele at the community forum meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Cele, however, did not take Cameron’s words lightly. “I did not join human rights battles yesterday. That’s why I was sent to prison. That’s why I was sent to Robben Island, because I was fighting for human rights,” an emotional Cele responded. “I have lived this life. I have lived the life of being African. I have lived a life where my mother was called a kitchen girl and my father was called a garden boy [so] I’m not going to take any nonsense from someone who considers me a garden boy,” added Cele.

On wanting to verbally retaliate to the claims, Cameron was shouted at to either “shut up, sit down, or get out,” by Cele. Shortly after, Cameron was audaciously escorted out of the venue by police members.

“I will not be accused of something I didn’t do and I will not make this a race or political debate. The point is 67 people are murdered in the country every day and 150 women are raped daily in South Africa, but the minister [Cele] has time for dirty politics,” explained Cameron on VOC’s Drive Time after the incident.

He further explained that the minister is “once again abusing the police force for political gain and holding authority over ordinary citizens.”

“I believe there is a time and place for everything but what the minister failed to do was focus on the issues at hand. He also accused me of racism. I spent my day in Gugulethu, why on earth would someone who is racist do that,” questioned Cameron.


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