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SA’s Police Minister Bheki Cele Must Answer to Police Committee About McBride’s Job


The Portfolio Committee on Police wants Police Minister Bheki Cele to explain the reason why he wants Robert McBride removed as executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

The committee met on Thursday morning to set out a programme for dealing with the matter of whether or not to renew McBride’s contract.

This after a settlement agreement was reached on Tuesday in the legal proceedings McBride instituted against Cele, to which the committee was also a party.

In a draft order handed to the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, the parties agreed that the decision Cele had taken to not renew McBride’s term as IPID executive director was a preliminary decision that still needed to be confirmed or rejected by the committee.

The deadline is set for a decision by February 28.

The matter was postponed to the urgent court roll and is set down for February 26, when the court might grant the committee an extension on the deadline.

According to the programme the committee has unanimously adopted, Cele has until Monday to respond in writing.

His response will then be referred to McBride, who will have an opportunity to respond. His response, as well as a response by the amici curiae in the matter, the Helen Suzman Foundation, is due on February 20. By the next day the committee will receive this information. They will meet on February 22 to deliberate on the submissions and finalise the affidavit that needs to be submitted to the court.

Cele ‘had no right’

On February 26 the committee will have another meeting to deliberate. It will adopt its report the next day.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said she was concerned that Cele “leaned” on ANC members of the committee to get his way, but is satisfied with the balanced programme.

“He had no right to make a decision,” she said about Cele. “I haven’t seen something as arrogant in quite some time, maybe since the last time he was police commissioner.”

In his submissions to the court, Cele argued that McBride’s application was premature and moot.

“IPID will not grind to a halt without him. An acting director will do just fine while the National Assembly and the portfolio committee decide whether to confirm or reject my preliminary decision,” he said.

Cele said if his decision was confirmed, the post would be advertised and nothing stopped McBride from applying.

He also added that if his preliminary decision was rejected, McBride’s term would be renewed, and he would still get his full five-year term.

Cele also denied that he had “prevented” the portfolio committee from making a decision on whether or not to renew McBride’s term.

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