A Sowetan journalist has testified in court that suspended national police commissioner General Bheki Cele used the words “shoot to kill”, the newspaper reported on Monday.
Mhlaba Memela testified against Cele, who had denied saying this, in the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday.
Cele is suing the Sowetan for defamation after a doctored image of him appeared in the newspaper in 2007, showing him holding a rifle.
Memela testified that although some KwaZulu-Natal residents were initially happy with Cele’s stance on violent crime, they became worried when people were killed without being taken in for questioning, the newspaper reported.
“The victim’s families would ask if their family members had died because of what Cele had said,” Memela was quoted as telling the court.
“People called the office to complain about the police’s conduct. There had been a change in how they operated.”
Last week, Cele told the High Court he could not remember telling police officers to “shoot to kill”.
The case was expected to continue in June. -Sapa