Police Minister Bheki Cele has a few months to inform MPs of his preferred candidate to take over the helm at Ipid. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Police Minister Bheki Cele has a few months to inform MPs of his preferred candidate to take over the helm at the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

This after Cele extended the contract of the acting head of Ipid, Victor Senna, until the end of next month.

Senna took over in March following a wrangle between Cele and former Ipid head Robert McBride.

McBride took Cele to court in a bid to remain in the post after the minister refused to extend his contract for another five years.

ANC MPs backed Cele in the dispute.

On Saturday, Cele’s spokesperson Reneilwe Serero confirmed Senna’s contract was extended until the end of July.

This would allow MPs to deal with the appointment of a permanent head at Ipid. Former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson chairs the portfolio committee on police. She took over from Francois Beukman, who did not return to Parliament after he was not included on the ANC list of candidates.

The law requires Cele to submit the name of his preferred candidate for the Ipid post to Parliament for consideration by the committee.

If the committee and the House approve Cele’s candidate, the candidate will take over the reins at Ipid.

McBride was involved in a bitter legal showdown with Cele over the post. Cele had insisted McBride had no legal right to remain in the post, and said he was entitled by law not to extend McBride’s contract, and he would appoint a candidate of his choice for the post.

The Helen Suzman Foundation entered the fray, and took Cele to court over the procedure to appoint the head of Ipid. The foundation said politicians should not be involved in the appointment. About a month ago the foundation noted that Parliament did not amended the Ipid Act despite the Constitutional Court giving MPs until September last year to do so.

The process to finalise the bill was incomplete when Parliament went into recess before the May elections.

ANC MPs attacked McBride during deliberations on whether to extend his contract. McBride launched a scathing attack on party members in his court papers, saying they were determined not to see him return to the job.

Political Bureau