Robert McBride has lodged an urgent application to review a decision by the Portfolio Committee on Police not to renew his contract as the executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). In papers filed in the high court, McBride wants the portfolio committee’s decision to be declared unlawful, invalid, reviewed and set aside.
Zakhele Mbhele MP, DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Police – 28 February 2019
The Democratic Alliance (DA) condemns the ANC’s predictable endorsement of Police Minister Cele’s “preliminary decision” not to renew the contract of IPID Executive Director Robert McBride. It was evident from the beginning that the ANC was determined to toe the Minister’s line, instead of considering the matter objectively and rationally. It is for this reason the DA chose not to legitimise this sham and boycotted the final vote.
The fact is that there are no compelling, substantive reasons not to renew McBride’s contract. All that the Minister gave to the Committee in his submission of reasons were allegations that are, as yet, untested and unproved. Nor can anything else that has surfaced be assessed as being egregious enough to warrant non-renewal.
If anything, his track record of protecting and strengthening the independence of the IPID through litigation, as well as the spearheading of investigations into high-level systemic corruption in the SAPS under his leadership, provides reasons precisely to renew his contract because the IPID has effectively fulfilled its mandate with him at the helm.
What this saga has made clear is that the IPID Act is defective in providing for a renewable term of the IPID Executive Director. Given the need for the independence of the IPID, identical to that for the Hawks, it is now clear that the term of the IPID Head should be similarly non-renewable and lengthened so that any incumbent can fulfil their responsibilities without fear of career consequences from a seemingly vindictive Minister.
We have no doubt that this ANC decision that toes the Minister’s line is judicially reviewable on the grounds of irrationality. It will echo and reverberate as being a massive mistake for many years to come and a blow to state capacity for fighting corruption, as the Scorpions disbandment decision has done.
A substantive, impartial selection process may have surfaced a different person as the best candidate to lead the IPID for the next 5 years but, as things stand, there is no evidence to motivate concretely and conclusively for McBride’s contract not to be renewed.
Statement by Robert Mc Bride on Parliamentary and Court proceedings today. @eNCA #IPID parliament upheld decision by Police Minister Bheki Cele not to extend his contract for another 5 years. pic.twitter.com/oOXzrfyu6r
— Annika Larsen (@AnnikaLarsen1) February 28, 2019