Bheki Cele: Smoking soldiers in hot water, facing disciplinary action

Bheki Cele: Smoking soldiers in hot water, facing disciplinary action

- Police Minister Bheki Cele has confirmed that the soldiers caught smoking during Andrew Mlangeni's funeral will be facing internal disciplinary action

- A police probe over the ANC-led ceremony will be handed over to the NPA once it is finalised

- Cele says that while smoking is not a crime, purchasing cigarettes remains illegal

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Internal disciplinary probes have been launched against the South African National Defence Force members who were caught smoking during Andrew Mlangeni's funeral.

Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed that the investigation into allegations of flouting lockdown law during the event is underway:

"The question about Andrew Mlangeni's funeral is under investigation. There are people who have been asked by the police and as the investigation is finalised the docket will be taken to the [National Prosecuting Authority] for a decision."

In addition to this, Cele announced that an internal action has been taken against the smoking soldiers:

"But the soldiers that you saw, already speaking to the minister of defence yesterday, has told me that the internal disciplines have been taken against the soldiers that were smoking there."
The two SANDF members were caught on film smoking during the funeral. Image: GCIS
Source: UGC

READ ALSO: Andrew Mlangeni: ANC faces charges over lockdown violations at funeral

With the lockdown ban still in full effect, Cele reminded SA that while smoking isn't illegal purchasing cigarettes is:

"This thing of smoking and receipts keeps coming up. We have arrested a lot of people already, if I'm not mistaken, we have [seized] cigarettes of about 1.8 million."

Earlier, reported that African National Congress National Executive Committee members may soon be facing serious charges after an investigation was launched.

The South African Police Service has confirmed that it is looking into whether or not the lockdown laws had been broken during the funeral service for struggle veteran Andrew Mlangeni.

SAPS spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo has confirmed that a case of contravening the Disaster Management Act has been opened, commenting that:

“The regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, makes provision for the dispersing of crowds who gather illegally and it also makes provision to hold accountable a person or persons who convenes or organises illegal gatherings."

With regulations only allowing for 50 people to attend funerals, the ANC has come under fire after large crowds gathered at the event.

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