Ipid head Robert McBride File picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Parliament – A letter from Police Minister Nathi Nhleko asking Parliament to use its powers to take on the head of police watchdog, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), Robert McBride was on Tuesday referred to MPs.

Nhleko addressed a media briefing in Parliament on Tuesday – the same day the letter referring the matter to Parliament’s portfolio committee on police – was published in the the legislature’s Announcements, Tablings and Committee reports (ATC) document.

The Minister was essentially asking MPs to discipline McBride for what the minister alleges was the doctoring of a report into former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and other senior colleagues’ involvement in the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans in 2010.

While denying that he “has gone all out reinstate charges against Mr Mcbride”, Nhleko said the Constitutional Court decision giving Parliament the powers to discipline the head of the Ipid would now come into effect.

“The question of the Constitutional Court and the law comes in in the sense that its now defined by how the Constitutional Court read section 17DA(3) to 17DA(7) of the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] Act into the Ipid Act….which in essence said it is for Parliament to decide on matters of discipline with regard to the executive director of Ipid,” Nhleko said.

“What this means is if there are transgressions or allegations of any nature…all that the minister has got to do is approach Parliament, report to Parliament what has transpired or what would have transpired, then it is for Parliament to decide how it would want to deal with a matter of such a nature.”

Parliament’s portfolio committee on police on Monday said it would call Nhleko to the committee next week Wednesday to explain current conflicts between the SA Police Service and the Ipid.

“We need stability in our law enforcement agencies at all times and we cannot allow a situation where public confidence in these institutions is eroded by inter-agency conflicts,” committee chairman Francois Beukman said in a committee statement.

In September, the Constitutional Court found that Nhleko’s decision to suspend McBride was invalid, and gave Parliament the power to constitute an inquiry and decide on the Ipid head’s future within 30 days.

McBride returned to work when that deadline was not met. Criminal charges against him were also recently dropped as a result of the unwillingness of witnesses to testify.