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It would be 'irrational' to reappoint McBride as Ipid boss: Cele

20 February 2019 - 08:12 By Nico Gous
Police minister Bheki Cele.
Police minister Bheki Cele.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

Police minister Bheki Cele believes it would be "irrational" to reappoint Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride for another five year-term at the end of this month because of "serious allegations of misconduct" levelled against him.

"In my view, it would be irrational for the [police] portfolio committee to renew McBride's appointment as executive director. Serious allegations of misconduct have been levelled against McBride, and these allegations undermine his fitness to hold office," Cele said in his submissions on Monday.

"At a minimum, the incumbent must be suitably qualified and fit and proper."

McBride took Cele and the parliamentary committee to court over the matter.

The minister also cited what he deems is prima facie evidence against McBride.

According to Cele, someone laid a complaint against McBride at the Public Protector in September 2018 claiming "maladministration, corruption, irregular recruitment and procurement procedures, abuse of power and purging of staff".

This included, among other allegations, that he:

  • Paid himself R100,000 for unused leave credits, without approval;
  • Raised his salary without complying with the Performance Management Policy nor undergoing a performance assessment;
  • Made irregular staff appointments and transfers; and
  • Oversaw irregular procurement processes for buying guns and surveillance devices.

Cele said: "The allegations against McBride are serious and cast significant doubt on this fitness and propriety to hold office as executive director."

He believes the allegations cast a "cloud of uncertainty and impropriety" around McBride which in turn "undermines Ipid as a whole and adversely affects its independence and effectiveness".

Cele believes reappointing McBride "hinders and undermines the Public Protector's investigation".

Cele also referred to a report by former Ipid investigator Cedrick Nkabinde who was part of the team who investigated former police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane.

Nkabinde claimed, among other things, that McBride:

  • Allowed private investigator Paul O'Sullivan to conduct Ipid investigations;
  • Leaked official and confidential information to the media;
  • Obtained evidence illegally by intercepting and monitoring cellphone calls.

Cele said Nkabinde sent him his report in April 2018.

"Like the Public Protector's investigation, the Nkabinde report raises serious allegations against McBride."

McBride became Ipid executive director on March 1 2014 for a five year-term.