Determined McBride dreams big

By Alex Eliseev

Robert McBride still believes he is Ekurhuleni's metro police chief. And he has big dreams to police the 2010 World Cup, even visiting Germany to improve his knowledge.

He spent three years studying policing at the Tshwane University of Technology, graduating "with distinctions at the head of my class".

But his plans were shattered when he was fired as Ekurhuleni metro police chief after years of controversy - including his infamous 2006 car crash.

McBride revealed this in his bold - but so far failed - court application against the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM), in which he fought to get his job back and have his axing declared unlawful.

He argued that his bosses created an impression that he would stay well beyond the end of his five-year contract - which expired late last year - and that because of a technicality, he was in fact a permanent staff member.

In his application he:

  • Tried to stop the EMM from hiring his replacement;

  • Lashed out at the team prosecuting him for drunk driving, calling them "unco-operative" and their trial "dilatory";

  • Claimed that a political conspiracy transpired after his car crash;

  • Considered suing newspapers over the way in which they covered his involvement in the May 2008 xenophobic violence;

  • Revealed he had sources in the council providing him with information; and

  • Refused to acknowledge his sacking, saying "I am and continue to remain the chief of police".

    McBride brought the application before a Durban-based Labour Court in late October, but failed to convince the court that it was urgent. The case was dismissed and McBride was ordered to pay the EMM's legal costs.

    He now plans to bring a non-urgent application and has also turned to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. A hearing is set down for the end of next month.

    On Thursday, he said he would "do whatever it takes" to push on with his applications. He explained that once he had secured certain documents from the EMM, he would return to the Labour Court, with the CCMA case possibly running parallel.

    "You can't have politicians taking decisions on officials and getting involved in administration," he said.

    McBride's claims of broken promises in the court application centre on former mayor Duma Nkosi and controversial city manager Patrick Flusk, who, he claims, made him believe he would stay on. The axing came after Nkosi was replaced by Ntombi Mekgwe.

    "It was mentioned to me by (Nkosi and Flusk) that the contract had been concluded in that form as a necessary formality, but that it was the intention of the (EMM) to keep me engaged as chief of police for a longer period."

    McBride described how he visited Germany in 2006 for briefing on policing Fifa World Cups.

    Commenting on his degree in policing, he said: "That degree was paid for by the (EMM), who viewed it as an investment in me."

    He again denied the drunk driving allegations, saying that "various political entities sought to gain favour with the electorate arising from that unfortunate event (car crash)".

    McBride blamed the media for putting a "negative spin" on his involvement in last year's xenophobic violence, after which he was promptly taken off active duty.

  • sign up