/ 8 April 2019

Zondo commission: McBride set to detail crime cluster capture

(Madelene Cronje/M&G)
(Madelene Cronje/M&G)

The Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture kicks off this week with the long-awaited testimony of former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride.

McBride is set to give evidence on the alleged capture of the criminal justice cluster, including the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

READ MORE: McBride on crime cluster capture

McBride was scheduled to appear before the commission — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — in February, but his testimony was postponed to allow the legal team to notify individuals implicated in his evidence.

The head of the commission’s legal team, Paul Pretorius SC, revealed in February that McBride’s testimony will implicate more than 30 people, many of them high-ranking officials.

These include the former minister of police, Nathi Nhleko, and the former national director of public prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams.

The Mail & Guardian understands that McBride has more than 2 000 pages of evidence in the form of recordings and documents.

In October last year, McBride said in Ipid’s annual report that the directorate “has already started investigations into the role of police officers for defeating the ends of justice to undermine investigations into allegations of state capture”.

He further stated that Ipid was “the first institution to call out state capture in the criminal justice cluster”.

It is expected that McBride’s testimony will deal with how Nhleko was allegedly determined to get rid of him as the head of Ipid.

In 2015, McBride was accused of covering up then Hawks boss Anwa Dramat’s alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans in 2010.

McBride was suspended by Nhleko. Criminal charges over the renditions were brought against Dramat, McBride and former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya but were later withdrawn against all three.

READ MORE: MPs recommend that McBride’s Ipid contract should not be renewed

Shortly after McBride’s scheduled appearance before the commission in February, Parliament ratified the decision by the portfolio committee on police not to renew his contract as Ipid head.

In January, McBride approached the high court in Pretoria to review and set aside the decision by Police Minister Bheki Cele not to renew his contract. McBride argued in his founding papers that the head of Ipid should not function at the behest of a political appointee as this may lead to interference.

But in February, the portfolio committee on police recommended that McBride’s contract should not be renewed.