Acting presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale on Friday confirmed President Cyril Ramaphosa had received such a request from the minister, saying he is looking into the matter.
“He [Cele] has sent the request and the president is applying his mind,” Seale told The Citizen.
However, he could not confirm when Ramaphosa received the request from Cele or how long he would take to decide.
“I don’t think one is able to put a time to that but the president has to ensure he has sufficient information on the matter before he takes a decision.”
Sitole has come under fire following a scathing Pretoria high court ruling in January by Judge Norman Davis, who found the commissioner and two of his deputies had failed in their duties by refusing to provide and declassify documents required by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) for its investigations into allegations of fraud and corruption.
The case is reportedly linked to claims involving a money-laundering scheme to illegally access police funds and disburse them to buy votes at the ANC’s national elective conference in 2017.
The allegations also involve claims related to the procurement of a R45 million surveillance device known as a “grabber” that is used to intercept electronic communications.
The police commissioner and his deputies appealed the case but their application was dismissed on Thursday.
Approached for comment, Cele spokesperson Lirandzu Themba referred The Citizen to the Presidency.
“The presidency can be reached to confirm this and the matter is before the president, so the police ministry will not be confirming any further. Thank you,” Themba said in a WhatsApp message.