McBride on ‘special leave’

Metro police chief Robert McBride has signed official documents but is not working, Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesperson Prince Hamnca said on Friday.

”Robert was never suspended but was put on special leave, that means that if we want to consult with him we can — because he is the chief of police,” Hamnca said, adding that according to the South African Police Act of 1995, McBride was obliged to deal with legal documents and issues.

McBride has been placed on leave pending his trial in the Pretoria Regional Court in April, for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, defeating the ends of justice and fraud relating to a car accident in December 2006.

Hamnca said that on February 28 of this year, McBride signed a document authorising a road block in Boksburg for the next day.

Hamnca read: ”I, Robert McBride hereby authorise acting chief deputy director OJ Bezuidenhout to set up this road block at this particular point … in Boksburg on 29 February 2008.”

However, Hamnca was adamant that McBride was not working.

”He is not working. From time to time we call him, the chief of police, and we will continue to do that,” he said.

Hamnca said that only McBride could deal with legal issues while the day-to-day operations and management issues were dealt with by acting police chief Mkhabela Sibeko.

How much on legal fees?

Meanwhile the Democratic Alliance and a councillor for the Independent Ratepayers’ Association of South Africa (Irasa) have questioned how much had been spent on McBride’s legal fees.

The DA said that on Thursday that Ekurhuleni mayor Duma Nkosi stated that an amount of R578 149 had been spent.

However, Irasa councillor Izak Berg said he was in possession of legitimate documents, including cheque numbers and invoices paid to McBride’s lawyer, Dehal Incorporated, which showed that the amount spent by the council was over R6-million.

DA spokesperson Rika Hunter said: ”Either way, the city manager, Mr Patrick Flusk is in contravention of his delegation of powers, as he can only approve a maximum of R10 000 for legal assistance to employees per case.”

She said only one amount of R10 000 had been approved and there was no indication that the necessary process for the extra expenditure had been complied with.

She said the party did not approve the metro footing McBride’s legal fees.

”This has nothing to do with service delivery and therefore must be considered as a loan to McBride, which is not permitted by legislation and must therefore be paid,” said Hunter.

Hamnca said the figure stated by Nkosi was the official amount and it had been confirmed by the chief financial officer.

He said the onus was on Berg to prove otherwise.

”The mayor has put this matter on record,” he said.

Roshan Dehal was not immediately available for comment on the amount paid for McBride’s legal fees. – Sapa

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