The Constitutional Court is expected to deliver judgment on Tuesday in the case brought by suspended Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) executive director Robert McBride to challenge the lawfulness of Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s move to “unilaterally” suspend him.
McBride wants his suspension by the police minister declared invalid.
On May 17, Advocate Steven Budlender, for McBride, told the Constitutional Court that he felt Parliament should have been given 30 days to make a decision and state what grounds the decision was made on.
McBride was accused of tampering with an Ipid report into whether or not the former head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat was involved in the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans accused of murder in their country.
However, McBride is of the opinion that he cannot do his job independently if Nhleko is allowed to suspend him without consulting other members of Cabinet.
In December, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that the laws that had allowed Nhleko to suspend McBride unilaterally were unconstitutional. As a result the court suspended its order pending the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the matter.
McBride was suspended in March 2015, as part of the fallout in the investigation into the illegal deportation of five Zimbabweans wanted for the murder of a police officer in Bulawayo in that country.
This year in March McBride, Matthew Sesoko and Innocent Khuba appeared in the High Court in Pretoria facing charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice after their investigation of Dramat in the rendition matter. The trio are all out on bail of R1 500 each.
During the hearing lawyer Tembeka Nguckaitobi, from Nhleko’s defence team, said the court had to make a call on whether the police minister made a good decision based on the evidence that was presented to him.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said Nhleko could not object to a 30-day period or say he didn’t know how long he would need.
Nguckaitobi said if McBride was allowed to return to his position after the 30-day period, there was a risk he would interfere witnesses, who work at Ipid.
Justice Chris Jafta said Nhleko had the option to inform the court that the process was in Parliament and he needed to be granted an extension due to the fear of interference
Nhleko’s team later revealed they had received a call informing them that the police minister was requesting a 90-day extension because Parliament was on a recess and was only dealing with “urgent matters”.
– African News Agency (ANA)