The police minister’s decision to suspend Ipid head Robert McBride was invalid, the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.
“It is declared that the decision of the minister of police to suspend Mr McBride from his office is invalid and is set aside,” Justice Chris Jafta said.
“It is declared that the decision of the minister of police to institute a disciplinary hearing against Mr McBride is invalid and set aside.
McBride was suspended in March 2015 for allegedly altering a report by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate on former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and Hawks Gauteng head Shadrack Sibiya. They were accused of illegally deporting a group of Zimbabweans wanted for murder. It started with an urgent application to stop Police Minister Nathi Nhleko from suspending him. It was found not to be urgent, and struck off the roll.
McBride secured a hold on his disciplinary hearing, pending the outcome of this court challenge. The dispute over whether Nhleko could suspend McBride went all the way to the Constitutional Court, which heard the matter on May 17.
That hearing was an application for confirmation of a High Court order that declared certain provisions of the Ipid Act 1 of 2011; the Public Service Act, 1994; and the Regulations for the Operation of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, 2011, inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid.
McBride did not believe they gave Nhleko the power to suspend him or remove him from office.
The High Court ruled that the independence of Ipid, expressly guaranteed under section 206(6) of the Constitution, was not protected by the relevant legislative provisions.
This was referred to the Constitutional Court for confirmation. – News24