Attorneys for Robert McBride say its attention has been drawn out into the Portfolio Committee on Police has as of late gotten entries that look to implicate the official executive of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) in criminal conduct.
In a letter addressed to the police committee and dated February 14, McBride’s lawyer, advocate Jac Marais, SC, states: “We understand that the submissions have been made by individuals that are the subject of ongoing IPID investigations under Mr McBride’s supervision.
“Mr McBride denies any criminal conduct and has reason to believe that the submissions are aimed at improperly influencing the PCP’s (Portfolio Committee on Police) decision on the renewal of his appointment as the executive director of IPID,” reads the letter.
We understand that Nafiz Modack, who is a suspect in an IPID investigation, alleged that McBride was bribed by cigarette manufacturer Adriano Mazzotti to get information on Modack.
McBride recently filed an urgent application asking the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to declare a decision by Police Minister Bheki Cele not to renew his appointment as “unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid”.
In the letter, Marais says his client has a right to be heard in respect of the allegations against him, especially in “circumstances where these allegations may inform the PCP’s decision on the renewal of his contract”.
“For Mr McBride to do so, he requires the details of all the allegations that have been levelled against him, including copies of all documentation that [has] been placed before the PCP.
“In light of the seriousness of the allegations, it would, we submit, be appropriate to grant Mr McBride an oral hearing to respond thereto.”
Marais also added that the police committee’s decision on whether to renew McBride’s appointment must be taken fairly, lawfully and rationally.
“This requires that it afford Mr McBride a hearing before it takes its decision. Such a hearing is required to satisfy Mr McBride’s right to be heard, and to ensure that the PCP takes into account all the relevant considerations in exercising its decision-making power.”
No reasons given
Marais also said Minister Cele should furnish both the Portfolio Committee on Police and McBride with the reasons for his recommendation that the IPID head’s term not be renewed. He said the committee must also be afforded the benefit of McBride’s response to the Minister’s reasons for his recommendation.
“Mr McBride has repeatedly called on the minister to furnish him with the reasons for the minister’s recommendation. Despite this, the minister has failed to furnish his reasons.
“In the circumstances, it is incumbent on the PCP to call upon the minister urgently to provide written reasons for his recommendation, and further to provide those reasons to Mr McBride to enable him to respond thereto. The fact that the minister has not already done so is alarming.”
At a briefing on Thursday, the police committee said it wanted Cele to explain why he wants McBride gone as the IPID head.
The committee met on Thursday morning to set out a programme for dealing with the matter of whether to renew McBride’s contract.
In a draft order handed to the High Court on Tuesday, the parties agreed that the decision Cele had taken not to renew McBride’s term was a preliminary decision that must still be confirmed or rejected by the committee.
“It is recorded that the second respondent (the portfolio committee) intends to take a decision regarding the renewal of [McBride’s] appointment on or before 28 February,” reads the order.
The matter was postponed to the urgent court roll and is set down for February 26.
The portfolio committee was ordered to report, via affidavit, on its progress by February 22.
Judge Wendy Hughes granted the order on Tuesday afternoon.