Police Minister General Bheki Cele. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Police Minister General Bheki Cele. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Inaction at Ipid helm highlighted

By SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI Time of article published Jan 15, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is still without a permanent head several months after Robert McBride left the organisation.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele had promised to make the appointment a while back, but 10 months later the body still has Victor Senna as the acting head.

Police spokesperson Lirandzu Themba did not respond to questions on the matter yesterday.

Senna originally took over from Robert McBride after Parliament refused to renew his (McBride’s) term of office. This was after ANC members in the police committee flagged him for several cases of misconduct. But McBride has denied all of them.

Eventually, using its majority vote, the ANC in Parliament refused to renew McBride’s contract.

The fight over the Ipid job in Parliament had even led to civil society lodging a court application to remove politicians from the appointment of the Ipid head. The matter is still to be heard at the Constitutional Court.

Civil society said politicians should not play any role in this appointment.

Cele, however, has not indicated how soon Ipid will have a new leader.

The minister was also stripped of his powers to suspend or fire a head of Ipid after the adoption of a new law in the national legislature late last year.

The amendments to the Ipid Act came amid a Constitutional Court ruling that the minister of police did not have the necessary authority over appointments and dismissals.

The amended legislation came about when McBride hauled former minister of police Nathi Nhleko to the Constitutional Court after he was suspended for claimed illegal repatriation of Zimbabweans.

But the highest court in the land ruled in McBride’s favour and he returned to work after that judgment.

Lawmakers subsequently amended the law, preventing the minister from suspending or firing the Ipid boss.

Ipid has been dealing with a number of high-profile cases in the recent past. It has also said it needed more funds to do its work.

In the meantime, President Cyril Ramaphosa has also not yet signed into law the amended legislation.

His spokesperson, Khusela Diko, did not respond to requests for comment.

After his sacking, McBride last year threw his hat in the ring to become the next Deputy Public Protector, but was unsuccessful.

Coincidentally, he had a run-in with Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who would have been his boss had he secured the job.

In several reports released by her office in October, Mkhwebane found, among other things, that the appointment of Theresa Botha by McBride as deputy director in the national specialised investigations team (NSIT) was irregular. But McBride challenged Mkhwebane’s report, saying he wanted it overturned.

Political Bureau

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