On The Trail Of Justice| Meet Brigadier Vela Cele, The Senior Cop On AKA’s Murder Case
Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed on Friday, during the announcement of the Quarter 3 Crime Statistics, that Brigadier Vela Jerome Cele has been tasked with the responsibility of bringing to justice the people who killed rapper AKA, who was buried on Saturday.
Brigadier Vela Cele has previously been recognized for his exceptional work in law enforcement.
He made headlines for leading the team that tracked down Luyanda Botha, who had raped and murdered University of Cape Town (UCT) student Uyinene Mrwetyana, within 10 days. Botha was eventually convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, three months after his capture.
In recognition of his team’s efforts, Police Minister Bheki Cele awarded Brigadier Vela Cele with a Ministry Award in 2020. As head of the Western Cape detectives, he formed a provincial team to support the Claremont detectives’ task force in their search for Botha.
The top cop has an extensive background in law enforcement, with over thirty years of experience as a detective. He has served as Acting Ethekwini District Commissioner.
Cele’s career began at Brighton Beach SAPS, where he was initially attached to the Durban Murder and Robbery Unit and received eight months of in-service training. He has since worked in various units, including the Alexandra Fraud Unit, Gold and Diamond Unit (formerly John Vorster Square), Vryheid Stock Theft Unit, and Vryheid Detective Services.
Following his tenure in Vryheid Detective Services, Cele joined Harding SAPS, also as a member of the detective services. At the time of his joining, he held the position of detective commander and warrant officer.
After serving nine years as a detective commander and warrant officer, Brigadier Vela Cele was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 2007, he was further promoted to colonel and appointed as the detective commander at Port Elizabeth, a position he held until 2013 when he joined Ladysmith SAPS.
Cele has earned the nickname “Superintendent Confessions” due to his notable success in obtaining “pointing outs” and recording confessions during interrogations.
Brigadier Vela Cele is a married father of four and is also an accomplished martial artist. He is a member of Kyokushinkai Karate and has achieved a Third Dan black belt. He has represented South Africa in international competitions held in Japan, Sydney, and Hungary.
In addition to his extensive experience in law enforcement, Cele has obtained a B-Tech degree in Policing and a Diploma in Labour Law.