Johannesburg - The Gauteng chapter of the MK National Council has expressed “disgust” at the decision by Parliament’s portfolio committee on police to not renew Robert McBride’s contract as executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
The decision came after Police Minister Bheki Cele wrote to McBride earlier this year informing him that he would not be renewing his five-year contract, which is renewable for one additional term in terms of the Ipid Act.
Cele’s decision was endorsed by the committee last week, but MK National Council Gauteng spokesperson Archie Mogodiri said the decision was aimed at undermining the independence of Ipid as the Act said its head must only be removed on account of being not fit and proper.
“We are taken aback by the recklessness of the portfolio committee on police who seem to have not applied their minds but simply rubber-stamped an irrational and irresponsible recommendation from the Minister of Police,” Mogodiri said.
He accused Cele of failing to give cogent reasons for refusing to renew McBride’s contract.
“In fact, McBride performed his duties without fear, favour or prejudice and only those who have something to hide and are therefore terrified by McBride’s independence will be threatened by the executive director’s continued stay in office,” Mogodiri added.
He said the organisation would approach the ANC in a bid to have Parliament reverse the decision to not rehire McBride.
“Given that the majority of the ANC members sitting on that committee are the ones who voted in favour of this administrative injustice, the MK National Council will approach the leadership of the ANC with a view to persuade them to reconsider this matter so they ensure that its majority in Parliament vote against this absurdity,” Mogodiri said.
In February 2014, McBride was appointed as Ipid head by then police minister Nathi Mthethwa, before he was suspended by his successor, Nathi Nhleko, in 2015.
In 2016, McBride successfully challenged his suspension by Nhleko in the Constitutional Court, which declared it unlawful and set it aside.
The apex court also gave Parliament two years to rectify the law that gives the minister of police powers to interfere in the running of Ipid.
“It is high time that the ANC walk the talk and the case of McBride provides them with a perfect opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the new dawn of promotion of the rule of law and preservation of the independence of institutions of democracy like Ipid and the public protector,” he said.
The DA and EFF have expressed opposition to the decision to get rid of McBride.