Bheki Cele
Bheki Cele

New law strips Police Minister's powers to fire Ipid head

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Sep 29, 2019

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Cape Town - The security and justice committee in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) will soon finalise a law that will strip Minister of Police Bheki Cele of his powers to suspend or fire the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

The new law would force the minister to do this in consultation with Parliament.

The Ipid Bill is before the NCOP after it was approved by the National Assembly before the May elections.

Chairperson of the select committee on security and justice in the NCOP Shahidabibi Shaik said yesterday they would reconvene next week to finalise the bill.

She said the National Assembly had already conducted public hearings on the bill.

“We should finish because during the previous term they had already run a public consultation process. The committee needs to consider those comments. We will consider those submissions we received on the Ipid Bill,” said Shaik.

“In terms of the decision of the Constitutional Court we still have to implement it. We still have a responsibility to amend the Ipid Act,” she said.

The case comes from the application by tformer Ipid head Robert McBride when when he was challenging the decision of former minister of police Nathi Nhleko to unilaterally suspend him three years ago.

In its decision in 2016 the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of McBride and said the minister of police must do this in consultation with Parliament.

The court gave Parliament until September last year to finish its process of amending the law.

However, the national legislature has missed the deadline.

This is not the only committee of Parliament to have missed the deadline of the Constitutional Court to fix a law.

The portfolio committee on rural development and land reform missed another deadline to amend the Restitution of Land Rights Act, which was passed in 2014.

In its judgment in 2016 the Constitutional Court gave Parliament two years to conclude the process of amending the Restitution of Land Rights Act. However, the national legislature missed the deadline last year July.

The act had allowed for the reopening of new land claims.

But the select committee on security and justice will reconvene next week to look at the amendments to the Ipid Bill.

The NCOP had to revive the bill after the new term of Parliament began after the elections.

Ipid has not had a permanent head since McBride’s term ended in March.

Cele is expected to announce the permanent head soon.

Victor Senna has been acting in the position over the last six months.

Senior Ipid officials Matthews Sesoko and Innocent Khuba testified were this week before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

McBride gave testimony several months ago.

Politics Bureau

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