Cape Town – Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride appears to be on his way out.
This is after ANC MPs on Monday called for his contract not to be renewed, saying his post should be advertised and a new head appointed.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police met Monday to discuss the renewal of his employment contract, which comes to an end on Thursday.
This comes after Police Minister Bheki Cele and McBride’s lawyers reached a settlement before the Gauteng High Court that the decision taken by Cele to not renew his contract was preliminary, and should still be confirmed by Parliament.
ANC MP Phindile Mmola, without reference to the reasons provided by the police minister to McBride, said the contract should not be renewed.
“Let it be on the board tomorrow, we are not going to waste time. We are supposed to go to our constituency offices and work, and not to deal with contracts.
“Let the post be advised today; we are not going to fight over reasons. If I was the minister, I would say the contract expires on February 28 and that would be it,” Mmola said.
The matter arises from a letter from Cele to McBride notifying him of his intention not to renew his employment contract.
McBride took the matter to court, which directed that the police committee, which has an oversight role over both the minister and Ipid, decide on the matter.
ANC MP Jerome Maake said there seemed to be a broken relationship between Cele and McBride, and added it would be better for service delivery and the better functioning of Ipid to allow the contract to expire.
“There seems to be a break in trust between the two, and in my view if we have that type of a situation it means these two people cannot work together. That is what is important to me,” said Maake.
“As public representatives, our duty is to make sure that departments function correctly and optimally. We can’t force people to work together. My view is that if we take this as the more important thing, it might save us time,” he concluded
In his response to Parliament dated February 18, Cele said McBride was not a “fit and proper” person to continue heading Ipid.
He referred to a misconduct complaint against McBride which is under investigation by the office of the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
He also referred to a report by Ipid’s former investigator, Cedrick Nkabinde, in which it was alleged that McBride gave private investigator Paul O’Sullivan access to Ipid investigations and confidential information.
DA MPs have, however, backed McBride, saying the reasons advanced by Cele were insufficient and that he should be allowed to head Ipid, despite the allegations levelled against him.
DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said: “Looking at reasons by the minister and the letter from McBride, it was not up to the minister to write these letters to McBride. I also think it was clear before it went to court that it was this committee’s job to decide.
“I see political pressure brought on to this committee. In the McBride letter, it claims Nkabinde withdrew his complaints, the reason on which the minister is basing his decision, and which is a decision he is not allowed to take. Those allegations should be removed from this entire exercise,” said Kohler Barnard.
McBride has exposed alleged corrupt links between former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and certain SAPS contractors.