Nhleko’s lawyers not impressed with McBride’s no-show at Zondo Commission
Johannesburg - Lawyers for former police minister Nkosinathi Nhleko have complained about the no-show of former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride before the Zondo commission on Monday where he was set to be cross examined on the evidence he gave to the inquiry which implicated Nhleko.
Nhleko took the stand at the commission to answer to some allegations in which he was implicated by witnesses, including those of wrongful suspensions of top cops made by McBride.
Nhleko’s lawyer advocate William Mokhari said the former minister’s team was disappointed by McBride’s failure to appear before the commission as it had made necessary preparations to quiz him on the allegations he had made.
Mokhari said Nhleko’s team was only informed on Sunday that McBride would not appear before the commission as scheduled due to difficulties imposed by his new job as the head of the State Security Agency’s foreign branch.
“In so far as McBride’s position that he will not be coming to be cross-examined today for the reasons that he articulated, we will leave it in the hands of the chairperson (Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo) to decide, but what we wish to place on record is our displeasure in us being informed on the eve of the hearing when we have taken all the time to prepare,” Mokhari said.
Last year, McBride told the commission that Nhleko had suspended him in 2015 over the Ipid’s report on the Zimbabwean renditions saga, which also saw former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and his Gauteng counterpart Shadrack Sibiya being suspended from their posts.
The saga related to the illegal deportation of Zimbabwean citizens by SA law enforcement agencies who were wanted for alleged crimes in that country and some of who were later killed by the Zimbabwean police forces.
McBride said while a preliminary report into the matter recommended that Dramat and Sibiya be suspended and held accountable for the saga, a final report which he compiled and submitted to Nhleko absolved them, and instead recommended that then Hawks cross-border desk head Leslie Maluleke be held accountable.
He said Nhleko ignored his report and went ahead to suspend Dramat and Sibiya and later suspended McBride when he went public to indicate Nhleko lied by saying Ipid had recommended the removal of the top cops.
McBride also accused Nhleko of hiring a Zimbabwean convicted fraudster as his chief of staff during his stint in the police ministry.
He said Lionel Moyo, who went by the name Leon Mbangwa, was hired by Nhleko without security clearance.
The commission’s evidence leader, advocate Garth Hulley, said McBride had not been subpoenaed to appear before the commission because he had always been co-operative and made himself available.
“He has given us an indication by way of the correspondence and the affidavit that he has taken employment elsewhere and that it has become difficult for him to comply today. That was the situation that we were confronted with and we could do nothing more than what we presently have,” he said.
Justice Zondo said a new date for McBride’s cross-examination by Nhleko would be determined at a later stage.