Parliament - The National Assembly on Tuesday, endorsed the recommendation of Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe to be appointed as the new Inspector-General of Intelligence, a post which has been vacant for a year and a half.

Dintwe’s nomination for appointment by President Jacob Zuma was approved by 299 MPs against 14 who voted no.

The nomination by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence was unanimous. The committee was forced to repeat the nomination process after it initially put forth African National Congress security Hawk Cecil Burgess for the post and the choice encountered such vehement opposition that the ruling party could not get the support of the National Assembly.

Dintwe drew controversy on the eve of Tuesday’s vote as it was reported that a court affidavit submitted in the legal battle between Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Robert McBride, the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), shows he backed the minister’s failed bid to remove McBride as head of the watchdog body.

Dintwe argued that there was a need for executive authority over IPID, and a case for it having limited independence, as it ultimately pursued the same objectives as the police.

He is the former head of the police practice department at the University of South Africa and deputy director of policy in Gauteng Department of Community Safety.

The vote on his appointment saw a moment of humour when Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli shouted “Honourable Hanekom, no,” at Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom as he tried to enter the chamber after voting had begun.

Hanekom called on Zuma to step down at the meeting of the ANC’s National Working Committee at the weekend. Zuma survived the bitter debate on his leadership that ensued, but is widely expected to inflict political punishment on those who sought to have him ousted.

African News Agency