Police Minister Bheki Cele argued in court papers filed in the High Court in Pretoria that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) would not slacken without its director, Robert McBride, whose contract ends on February 28, if the minister gets his way.
Cele informed McBride in December last year that he had decided not to renew his employment contract but McBride responded angrily, demanding that Cele withdraw his decision and refer the decision to the portfolio committee.
News24 reports that McBride has approached the court requesting it declare Cele’s decision “unconstitutional, unlawful, and invalid”.
Cele further argued that an acting director would be competent in the position while the National Assembly and the portfolio committee decide on whether to confirm or reject his preliminary decision.
The minister said that should his decision be confirmed, then an advertisement for the position would be put out and McBride was welcome to apply for the post.
Cele added that should the committee reject his decision then McBride’s contract would be renewed for a full five-year term.
The speaker of the National Assembly sent Cele a letter on February 4 confirming his role as minister, which is to make recommendations to the National Assembly on the non-renewal of the contract, the minister said.
He said there had been no reason for the matter to be litigated with “extreme urgency”.
“I deny that this application is urgent and deny that McBride will not obtain substantial redress in a hearing in the ordinary course. I deny that the decision to renew or not to renew can only be taken by the portfolio committee,” the minister was quoted.
He further denied that he had stopped the committee from deciding on whether or not to renew McBride’s contract.
McBride said, however, that he was left with no other option but to approach the court for urgent relief considering the fact that his term in office ends on February 28 and in light of Cele’s conduct.
The urgent court relief he sought would be necessary to ensure the committee is granted the chance to decide on whether or not to renew his contract, McBride said.
“It is critical that the portfolio committee decides the matter before 28 February 2019. If this does not occur, then my term of office will lapse due to the minister’s unlawful and unconstitutional conduct,” he was quoted as saying.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)