Robert McBride, chief of police
Foreign Affairs official and former death row inmate Robert McBride has been appointed chief of the East Rand municipality’s Metro Police, mayoral spokesperson Prince Hamca said.
The announcement was immediately decried by the Democratic Alliance, which said in a statement that it was reacting with “shock and disgust” to the appointment.
It added that the appointment came despite previous announcements by the mayoral spokesperson that McBride “had not necessarily applied for the position”.
“Despite McBride’s past, which includes allegations of gun-running, operating as a national intelligence agent, a spell in a Maputo jail and famously the Magoo bombing, the African National Congress has no respect for the residents of Ekurhuleni with this appointment,” said the DA leader in the Ekurhuleni Metro, Eddie Taylor.
“The ANC has embarked on a process of stacking the Metro with ANC loyalists who are answerable to ANC structures rather than the council as a whole. This appointment will be infamous as McBride’s reputation and an ANC member and MK soldier is legendary. The past may be forgiven in terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC] process, but his ANC loyalties remain.”
Taylor added that McBride’s involvement in gun-running allegations in 1999 have never been satisfactorily explained.
“A cloud remains over his head and he will bring this cloud to Ekurhuleni. The position of chief of police requires the appointment of someone with experience in policing, which McBride does not have, and someone with an impeccably clean record who can motivate the Metro Police officers and command the trust of the community.
“Whilst McBride may gain the trust of hard-core ANC members, the rest of Ekurhuleni will go to sleep a little more worried tonight than usual,” he said.
“We will be calling for a review of this decision,” concluded Taylor.
Hamca defended the appointment.
“We knew the DA would respond in that manner,” he said.
“Our view is that Robert, like any other South African citizen, had the right to apply for the position of chief of police, was shortlisted and was interviewed by a panel, which subsequently made a recommendation to the mayor.”
Hamca added that McBride had been given amnesty by the TRC and had committed himself to nation building during his interview.
“Robert has the capacity to take the Metro Police forward and in our view that his experience and understanding of law enforcement matters will help in formulating and implementing our crime prevention strategy,” Hamca said.
Other appointments made were Thembinkosi Mvelase as deputy chief of police for training and municipal courts, Stephen Podile as deputy chief of police for operations and Phumeza Skeyi as deputy chief of police for security and loss control.
The Ekurhuleni ANC, in its comment, congratulated McBride, saying he was “one of the movement’s seasoned cadres and freedom fighters”.
They also congratulated the other three, saying the appointments would go a long way in integrating and transforming the Metro Police department.—Sapa