The testimony of former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture has been postponed for a second time.
McBride was expected to testify on Monday. However, on Monday, Paul Pretorius SC, the head of the commission’s legal team, made an application to postpone McBride’s evidence owing to the legal team’s failure to notify individuals implicated in the witness’s statement.
According to Pretorius, McBride’s testimony will now be heard on Thursday. He is expected to implicate between 30 individuals in allegations relating to the capture of the criminal justice cluster.
The commission’s regulations require that notices be sent to people implicated by witness statements in advance of oral testimony.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the commission’s chair, granted the postponement but expressed his disappointment in the legal team’s failure to notify implicated parties.
This is not the first time McBride’s testimony has had to be postponed for this reason. McBride was scheduled to give his evidence in February, but the commission’s legal team asked that his testimony be pushed forward because of the last-minute completion of his statement.
Zondo called the legal team’s failure to notify implicated parties “unacceptable”.
“When Mr McBride’s statement was available last time, I was advised that it was complete .. and now we have to postpone his evidence again,” Zondo said.
He added that he appreciates the pressure the legal team is under, but said “there is simply no excuse” for notices not being sent out.
“We need to use every hour and every minute that we have to do the work and hear witnesses,” Zondo added.
Zondo continued, saying that it “should be made quite clear” that the late notification of implicated parties should not be repeated.
“The rights of implicated persons are important … we will do all we can to respect their rights. Where mistakes have happened, it is important that responsibility be taken and that steps be taken that there is no repeat,” he said.
As a result of the postponement of McBride’s testimony, the evidence of former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen has also been pushed forward. Booysen is now scheduled to give his evidence next Monday.
According to Pretorius, approximately 100 notices relating to both McBride’s and Booysen’s evidence had to be sent to implicated parties.