Johannesburg - Police Minister Bheki Cele has been dragged to court by Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Robert McBride over his decision not to renew his contract ending on February 28.
On Tuesday, McBride filed court papers on an urgent basis in the high court in Pretoria to have Cele's decision be found unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid, and also be set aside.
"In deciding not to renew the appointment of the executive director, the minister has acted ultra vires section 6(3((b) of the Ipid Act, and has acted in violation of the constitutional and statutory requirement that Ipid must function independently of the SAPS.
“In any event, the minister has failed to furnish any reasons for his decision despite being called upon to do so by the applicants," McBride said in his affidavit.
In his court papers filed on Tuesday, McBride and the Ipid also cited the chairperson of the police portfolio committee Francois Beukman as a second respondent.
McBride said the decision whether to renew the appointment of the executive director was not one that the minister was empowered to take.
"It is a decision that must be taken by the National Assembly's portfolio committee on police, being the parliamentary committee responsible for appointing the executive director and for oversight of Ipid.”
He charged that by purporting to exercise the power of the portfolio committee, Cele undermined Ipid's independence, which was constitutionally guaranteed, and the Ipid Act.
McBride said if the court ruled in favour of Cele, he would seek an order declaring the provision constitutionally invalid.
He argued that the portfolio committee has been prevented from taking a decision on whether to renew his contract or not because of Cele's Conduct.
McBride said Cele has not responded to his request to withdraw his "unlawful and purportedly binding decision (as) there was little that the portfolio committee could do".
"In light of the minister's conduct and given that my term of office expires on 28 February 2019, I have been left with no option but to approach the court for urgent relief.
"This is necessary to ensure that the portfolio committee is given the opportunity to consider and make a determination of whether my term of office should be renewed," McBride said in his affidavit.
He also said if the portfolio committee did not decide before his contract expired, that would cause obvious immediate harm to him personally.
"I will lose my position, but more importantly will also cause significant harm to Ipid and the public interest."
The Ipid Act provided for the appointment of the Ipid executive director for one term, he said.
The portfolio committee should apply its mind to whether his appointment should be renewed.
"For Parliament simply to sit on its hands and allow the matter to be determined by the effluxion of time would, I submit, be a dereliction of duty on the part of the portfolio committee."
He also said five years was relatively short.
"Continuity in leadership on the directorate may be required at the time, depending on whether there are any politically-sensitive investigations that may be disrupted or undermined by a change of leadership.
"It is therefore, important to the functioning of Ipid that the portfolio committee apply its mind to whether at the end of the executive director's five-year term, a renewal of the appointment is desirable and in the interest of the directorate.”
Cele has until February 1 to file a notice to oppose the application and then his affidavit on February 4.
McBride would then file his replying affidavit on February 7. The matter is set down for trial on February 12.