Former Ipid boss Robert McBride has detailed how former police minister Nathi Nhleko suspended former Hawks head Anwa Dramat based on an unsigned provisional report regarding the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean nationals.
McBride told the Zondo commission on Thursday that when he was appointed as Ipid head in 2014 he decided to re-evaluate the Zimbabwe rendition matter.
Dramat and former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrick Sibiya had been accused of unlawfully handing over Zimbabwean fugitives to the Zimbabwean police in 2010. The suspects later died in custody.
McBride says the final report and the provisional report on the rendition differed. The first report had recommended that Dramat and Sibiya be prosecuted regarding their involvement in the rendition matter.
The final report, which was compiled under McBride’s supervision, recommended that no charges be brought against Sibiya and Dramat.
McBride said those recommendations were based on the fact that cellphone records showed that Sibiya and Dramat were not in the area where the rendition took place.
McBride said his office sent the final report to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
He said months later, there was a request from Nhleko requesting that all documents related to the rendition matter be sent to his office.
He said he reluctantly complied. McBride said a few weeks later in December 2014, Nhleko’s office announced the suspension of Dramat.
McBride said he was shocked at the suspension, especially because Nhleko’s office said the suspension was recommended by Ipid.
As a result of this explanation, he said he concluded that Nhleko had used the first provisional report to motivate for Dramat’s suspension.
He said he told Nhleko that his decision was premature as there was a final report which had been handed to the NPA.
These two reports later led to McBride’s suspension in 2015 as Nhleko brought accusations against him for allegedly compiling the second report with an ulterior motive of clearing Dramat and Sibiya.
He said he was suspended by Nhleko and he was never protected by Parliament's portfolio committee on police. When he wrote to the committee, days before he was suspended, seeking to explain the two reports he said he was told the matter was being dealt with in court.
Dramat later left his post after he signed a settlement and Sibiya now heads up a City of Johannesburg's corruption fighting unit.
Earlier, Mcbride and told the commission how SAPS crime intelligence often declared documents as classified in an effort to protect members from being investigated.
He said most requests by Ipid to crime intelligence were often met with resistance. He said it was in certain circumstances where the division was willing to part with information needed in investigations related to allegations of corruption.
“It is not isolated it is the general pattern and including cooperation. There is what we call an Ipid blue curtain. For a long time, there was no oversight within the police service and as a result, oversight is met with huge resistance especially within crime intelligence," said McBride.
McBride's five-year contract as the head of Ipid ended in March and he is currently challenging the non-renewal in court.
He continues with testimony on Friday.