For former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride, the fight is far from over.
He will be approaching the High Court in Pretoria for an order reviewing and setting aside the police parliamentary portfolio committees (PPC) decision not to renew his contract.
“If it were not for the disturbing theatrics and unabashed bias which was there for everyone to see, I would simply walk away as I have never claimed entitlement to any position,” McBride said in a statement yesterday.
“However, since the independence of the Ipid is under attack by no less than the Minister of Police and rubber-stamped by the PPC, which failed to protect Ipids’s independence and not for the first time, I have filed papers today to review the patently irrational decision by the PPC, which is the de facto decision of the minister.”
Yesterday was McBride’s last day in his post.
The police parliamentary portfolio committee (PPC) yesterday recommended to the North Gauteng High Court McBride’s contract not be renewed due to a breakdown of trust between him and Police Minister Bheki Cele.
“There has been a litany of complaints and counter complaints, but what we have considered here is that the public protector has confirmed that investigations are going to ensue on a number of allegations [against McBride] which the committee and the ANC view in a serious light,” said Leonard Ramatlakane, ANC MP and PPC member.
“That process has also allowed to continue to determine what happened.”
Also on the committee was DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.
“They knew already what decision they were going make,” Kohler Barnard said, referring to the committee members.
“They sat for three days, repeating accusations made by an ex-employee which had all been investigated by the Public Service Commission and chucked out as unfounded.”
Kohler Barnard said members had fabricated evidence against McBride.
“Six months ago, the ANC study group on Scopa congratulated Ipid, it was a hero to the ANC,” Barnard said, and added there could be only one reason for the switch.
“He stopped hundreds of millions, in fact billions, of Rands being siphoned out of the Saps budget by criminality,” Kohler Barnard said.
“But the big one, was in a series of three investigations into R106 million involving Crime Intelligence, and Ipid stopped the fraudulent procurement of a cellphone grabber.”
Helen Suzman Foundation director Francis Antoni also weighed in, following his organisation’s application to the Constitutional Court to appeal the high court order.
“What was both disturbing and dismaying, is how they dredged up all sorts of old allegations which have all been addressed and McBride was exonerated,” said Antoni.
However, he said, there was one big thing.
“That’s the money the SAPS had to channel to the ANC conference,” Antoni claimed.
“There are big question marks over that R45 million. I gather it can be bought on the market for far less but this how corruption starts, by inflating prices.”
All the old claims against McBride had been resolved, Antoni said, and questioned who was trying to buy a grabber for R45 million.
“I don’t know and your guess is as good as mine. But as I understand it, McBride is to give evidence to the Zondo Commission and if he is no longer at Ipid, he won’t have access to all the documentation or the secondary documentation which he will need,” Antoni said.
“The plot thickens and, opens lots of room for speculation.”