Robert McBride claims police top brass plotted to buy ANC votes, say SAPS sources
A fresh power battle has erupted in the higher echelons of the SAPS, with the top brass accused of intending to bribe delegates at the recent ANC national conference.
At the centre are Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and Independent Police Investigative Directorate boss Robert McBride.
The Sunday Times understands that McBride made allegations of vote-buying against Mbalula and senior police officers two weeks ago, at a meeting with newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Sources in the police said McBride claimed that acting divisional commissioner of crime intelligence Major-General King Bhoyi Ngcobo and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole held secret meetings with Mbalula and his political adviser Bongani Mbindwane at a hotel in Pretoria just two days before the ANC conference in December.
McBride alleged that Mbalula and the police chiefs agreed to release police funds under the pretext of procuring a phone-signal "grabber", but the money was instead intended to buy votes to boost the unsuccessful presidential bid of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. But no funds were ever made available.
Mbalula denies the allegations. "Let me make it categorically clear that the idea that I would summon police generals into a corruption-plotting meeting is an insult to me and the generals, who are outstanding law enforcers," he said yesterday.
"I did not attend any such meetings whatsoever. The type of generals that are lied about are men and women who would arrest anyone on the scene of any such corruption conspiracy discussions."
He said the allegations came as no surprise because he had been tipped off by other security agencies that a smear campaign against him was looming.
The idea that I would summon police generals into a corruption plotting meeting is an insultFikile Mbalula, Minister of police
Neither Ramaphosa's spokesman, Tyrone Seale, nor McBride had responded to requests for comment by the time of going to print. McBride also ignored text messages sent to him.
Other police sources claimed that McBride, who is facing a charge of assaulting his daughter, was bitter because Mbalula apparently did not support his campaign to be the new police commissioner, a position that went to Sitole.
They claimed he was trying to ingratiate himself with the new ANC leadership as he was eyeing the vacant position of the head of the Hawks, as his contract at Ipid is coming to an end this year.
Speaking on behalf of the national police commissioner, SAPS spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo denied the allegations linked to McBride, saying the alleged meetings in December never took place.