The Star reported that Cele was informed of his axing on Wednesday. He was told to vacate his office, and that his replacement was due to report for duty on July 1.
The Times reported that Cele was told about the decision on Tuesday.
The Times source said Cele would fight the dismissal “tooth and nail”.
“The general is not going to roll over and die. He is not that kind of man. He is strong. Stronger than this and [he] will fight all the way,” the source said.
SABC radio news was told on Thursday that Cele would be informed of the decision.
Last month, a board of inquiry appointed by Zuma found Cele unfit to hold office and recommended he be fired. He has been suspended since last year.
The inquiry followed a finding in July by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that Cele’s involvement in deals to acquire police office space was “improper, unlawful and amounted to maladministration”.
Madonsela concluded that while Cele had not signed the final lease, he had initiated negotiations with property tycoon Roux Shabangu, and had seemed determined to secure the leases despite warnings against them.
The Democratic Alliance said they were happy with the outcome of firing Cele.
“The ongoing uncertainty about the situation in the top brass of the (SA Police Service) undermines police morale, public confidence in the police and the fight against crime,” said DA spokeswoman on police, Dianne Kohler-Barnard.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa is under investigation for looting on the Police Spy Fund.
This follows DA’s reports that they have evidence which has or was presented to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, that the Minister had a hand in the looting of funds.