The animosity between the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride, independent private investigator Paul O’Sullivan and acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, has escalated from an unpleasant vocal brawl into a drag down street fight with the knuckledusters in full evidence.
On the sidelines, unionist Zwelinzima Vavi has weighed in, lashing out at the under-funding he claims is sorely hampering Ipid’s ability to do its duty, and McBride citing the lack of cash that curtailed the reconstruction of a crime scene and incomplete ballistic reports at the Marikana massacre.
McBride has backed the investigation against Phahlane, arguing before the portfolio committee on police that there were reasons he should be probed, saying there was room to suggest Phahlane had inadequately answered questions about allegations of fraud and corruption, among others, that had been levelled at him.
These included the use of state funds and alleged bribes to pay for and live in his R8 million house; drive a fleet of expensive cars and listen to a state-of-the-art surround sound system understood to be valued at R80 000 – all of which Phahlane disputes.
But as one acrimonious accusation follows the next, the feeling is it can only get nastier and the only winners will be the lawyers … or the dentists.