In the course of his two-day testimony before the commission of inquiry into state capture, former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) boss Robert McBride is expected to detail how a “silent coup” in the state resulted in the deliberate weakening of anti-corruption entities.
McBride spent a large part of his opening testimony on Thursday outlining the evidence he is due to present, most of which relates to political interference in Ipid’s work, the covering up of corruption in the police, and the sacking of competent heads at institutions like the Hawks and the South African Revenue Services (Sars) to cover up malfeasance.
“The purpose of my evidence is to express my own personal experiences as the executive director of Ipid, what I observed and what evidence came to light … My belief is that there was an attack on anticorruption institutions and that my suspension on March 25 2015 was part of that process to take control of independent anti-corruption bodies and remove their heads by suspension, spurious disciplinaries and then to supplant them with compliant people who would not carry out their tasks diligently,” he told the commission.
After McBride was suspended in 2015, he, along with former Sars acting commissioner Ivan Pillay and former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat, released a joint statement highlighting various concerns they had.
“A meeting was arranged with members who had suffered the same persecution in Sars, the [Hawks] and Ipid … We expressed our concerns with what was taking place in the country.
“Myself, Dramat, and Pillay released a joint statement to that effect that there is a concerted effort to weaken anti-corruption bodies and there can be no reasonable explanation as to why you would want to weaken anti-corruption bodies, except a nefarious one,” he said.
“At the time we used the term ‘silent coup’ or ‘political gangsterism’.”
McBride is expected to highlight how irregular charges were brought against various officials to have them removed while others, who faced serious accusations of corruption and fraud, were protected because of their political affiliations.