The Minister of Police may have his wings clipped by Parliament over unilateral powers to suspend the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

This follows the instruction of the Constitutional Court for Parliament to fix the Ipid Act so it is in line with the law.

The decision of the Concourt came after Ipid head Robert McBride successfully challenged former police minister Nathi Nhleko’s decision to suspend him three years ago.

McBride argued that the police minister had no such powers and the decision had to be made in consultation with Parliament.

Nhleko and McBride were involved in a protracted legal battle over Nhleko’s decision to suspend him for allegedly altering a report on the illegal renditions of Zimbabweans.

The chairperson of the National Assembly committee on police, Francois Beukman, said they needed to fix the Ipid bill by September, the deadline set by the Concourt for the bill to be amended.

Beukman said there were several issues they needed to address in the bill.

“The one issue is that the Public Service Act does not apply in the suspension of the executive director of Ipid. The role of the minister only comes later. It should follow the same process as that of the head of the Hawks,” said Beukman.

“The minister can’t unilaterally suspend the executive director. There must be a parliamentary process. We will see what the different proposals from different institutions are, like how we can improve the law,” he said in reference to submissions this past week.

The committee has until September to work on the bill and to ensure that it was passed by the House and signed into law by the president by the deadline.

Weekend Argus