McBride’s contract ends on February 28. In letters addressed to Cele, however, McBride has charged that the minister does not have the power to decide whether to renew his contract.
DA MP Zakhele Mbhele said: “Cele’s reported intention not to renew the five-year contract of Ipid executive director Robert McBride is highly suspicious and can only be seen as an attempt to neuter Ipid’s robust corruption-busting investigative work.
“In light of the laudable breakthroughs made by Ipid’s National Specialised Investigations Team in detecting systemic corruption in the South African Police Service (SAPS), it is baffling that the minister would seek to make a move that undermines the continuity of this work,” said Mbhele.
He asked that Cele give Parliament reasons for his decision.
In a letter to McBride, Cele informed him of his last day in office and noted that he would inform Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo, of his decision regarding McBride’s contract. However, he did not state his reasons for not renewing McBride’s contract.
In his letter to Cele, McBride refers to a Constitutional Court ruling, which held that the head of Ipid is not a public servant and is therefore not under the employ of the Minister of Police and that section 6(3)(a) of the Ipid Act was unconstitutional for making the executive director subject to the laws governing the public service.
McBride has exposed allegedly corrupt links between former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and certain SAPS contractors. He also lifted the lid on alleged attempts to plunder Crime Intelligence funds for partisan political ends in the ANC.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on police also confirmed that it had received a letter from McBride, which was also forwarded to the Speaker of Parliament.
Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said: “We have acknowledged receipt of the letter of the executive director of Ipid. We will peruse the said correspondence and respond in due course.”
National Freedom Party MP Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam said Cele was within his rights to decide whether or not to renew McBride’s contract.
“When a contract is coming to an end, it can be extended, but not necessarily. The minister can refuse to do this. The post will be advertised and new applicants will be considered,” said Emam.