Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Robert McBride testifying at the state capture inquiry. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride yesterday took to the stand at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture - this time berating his former boss, ANC MP and ex-police minister Nathi Nhleko for having little insight into the authority Ipid had.

McBride told how Nhleko was unhappy with his attempt to have an audience with the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on police to brief it on why Ipid had recommended to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that it not charge former Hawks boss Anwar Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya, the unit’s Gauteng head at the time, with kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.

He said Nhleko displayed dissatisfaction with him for obeying the law and showed a misunderstanding of where his authority began and ended.

“The minister exhibited a bigger problem: he didn’t understand the notion of Ipid’s independence,” he told the commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

McBride said Nhleko preferred to work with Werksmans Attorneys than with Parliament.

He said the chairperson of the portfolio committee on police, Francois Beukman, declined his request to address the police portfolio committee on the matter.

However, the committee later allowed Nhleko to address it and he also briefed the media on his understanding of the illegal rendition by the Hawks of Zimbabweans wanted in their country.

“Nhleko was unhappy with me obeying the law,” McBride said.

He said the second of two recommendation reports compiled by Ipid’s former Limpopo head, Innocent Khuba, exonerated Dramat and Sibiya after evidence from cellphone towers cleared both former top cops.

“No court in South Africa would ever convict Dramat and Sibiya.”

McBride, whose contract as Ipid executive director was not renewed by Police Minister Bheki Cele, said Nhleko commissioned Werksmans Attorneys in January 2015 to investigate the two recommendation reports compiled by Khuba.

McBride is challenging Cele’s decision and its later endorsement by Parliament.

Only the final report which took into account the exculpatory evidence was signed by McBride, Khuba and former Ipid national head of investigations Matthews Sesoko.

McBride said he never gave Nhleko the report signed only by Khuba, but testified that he may have received it from the NPA.

During his investigation, Werksmans Attorneys’ Sandile July tried to contact Khuba, only after first omitting McBride, but Khuba told him to include his boss.

Instead, July later misspelt McBride’s name in a subsequent email.

“Any law firm that is instructed by a minister to investigate an investigation by an independent body must be more careful,” McBride warned.

He testified that former acting Ipid boss Israel Kgamanyane, who replaced McBride after he was suspended in March 2015, instructed Sesoko and Khuba to co-operate with Werksmans Attorneys.

But Kgamanyane later suspended Sesoko and Khuba on Nhleko’s instruction after Werksmans Attorneys’ report was finalised.

When McBride returned after his suspension, Kgamanyane refused to give a handover report, saying everything he had done was with the support of his supervisor, which McBride took to mean Nhleko.

McBride further highlighted that when July interviewed him he told the lawyer that he stood by the recommendation report he had signed.

He also urged journalists to exercise more caution when reporting and carefully assess information leaked to them.

Judge Zondo announced that he would hand down his decision on former SA Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane’s application to cross-examine Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday.

McBride will continue giving evidence on Monday.

Political Bureau