Leading The Hunt For Justice| Meet Brigadier Vela Cele, The Highly Decorated Top Cop At The Helm Of AKA’s Murder Probe

Brigadier Vela Jerome Cele has been assigned the responsibility of bringing to justice the people who are responsible for killing rapper AKA, who was laid to rest on Saturday.

This appointment was announced by Police Minister Bheki Cele on the occasion of the Quarter 3 Crime Statistics release, last Friday.

Brigadier Vela Cele has been recognized previously for his exceptional performance, notably for his role in the swift arrest of Luyanda Botha within 10 days.

Botha had committed the heinous crime of raping and murdering Uyinene Mrwetyana, a student at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Following his arrest, Botha was brought to justice and sentenced to life imprisonment, three months later.

Brigadier Vela Cele AKA
Brigadier Vela Cele (Image: Northern Natal News)

In 2020, Police Minister Bheki Cele conferred a Ministry Award on Brigadier Vela Cele in recognition of his leadership of the Western Cape detectives in the pursuit and arrest of Luyanda Botha.

Brigadier Cele spearheaded a provincial team that worked in collaboration with the Claremont detectives’ task force. His efforts and leadership were instrumental in the successful capture of Botha.

Brigadier Vela Cele’s distinguished career spans over three decades, during which he has held various key positions within the South African Police Service (SAPS).

He has served as the Acting Ethekwini District Commissioner and gained extensive experience as a detective.

Cele’s journey in the police force began when he was recruited by the Brighton Beach SAPS. He was swiftly attached to the Durban Murder and Robbery Unit, where he received eight months of intensive in-service training.

His career then led him to serve in several different units, including the Alexandra Fraud Unit, Gold and Diamond Unit (previously known as John Vorster Square), Vryheid Stock Theft Unit, and Vryheid Detective Services.

Through his experience in these various roles, Brigadier Cele has honed his skills as a detective and gained invaluable insights into the workings of different units within the SAPS.

Brigadier Vela Cele has had a remarkable career in the South African Police Service (SAPS), rising through the ranks from detective commander and warrant officer to the position of lieutenant colonel over nine years.

In 2007, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and assumed the role of detective commander at Port Elizabeth, a position he held until 2013 when he joined Ladysmith SAPS.

Celebrated for his exceptional skills in conducting ‘pointing outs’ and recording confessions, Brigadier Cele is nicknamed ‘Superintendent Confessions’.

He is a devoted family man and is married with four children. Apart from his dedication to the police force, Cele is also an accomplished martial artist and holds a Third Dan black belt in Kyokushinkai Karate.

He has represented his country in several international tournaments, including in Japan, Sydney, and Hungary.

Brigadier Cele is a well-educated officer with a B-Tech degree in Policing and a Diploma in Labour Law, which adds to his broad expertise in policing and law enforcement.

By jdt