McBride continues Zondo commission testimony

Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride returns to the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday, where he will continue to give evidence relating to the alleged capture of the criminal justice cluster.

McBride’s evidence, which he began presenting last Thursday, has so far focused on the events which led to his suspension in 2015. He was suspended by then police minister Nathi Nhleko after being accused of doctoring an investigative report into the alleged unlawful renditions of Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.

On Friday, McBride’s testimony focused on a controversial report by law firm Werksmans, which was commissioned by Nhleko to investigate two contradicting reports on the renditions case.

The initial report implicated then Hawks head Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya, the then Gauteng Hawks head, in criminal activity relating to the renditions case. The pair was criminally charged based off of the report.

But McBride had signed off on a second report, which contained evidence exonerating Dramat and Sibiya. Werksmans found that the initial report had been amended and recommended disciplinary charges against McBride and senior Ipid investigators, Mathews Sesoko and Innocent Khuba.

The Werksmans findings were used to legitimise McBrides suspension, which was ultimately found to be unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.

On Friday, McBride criticised the Werksmans report saying: “My view in this instance was that they [Werksmans] got it wrong and jumped to conclusions. It was a hurried report. This was just a process to ultimately nail us at the end.”

He further accused the law firm of conducting an investigation that put Ipid’s independence in jeopardy.

“Private legal companies, especially with a good reputation like Werksmans, should not easily take up cases that impinge on the independence of constitutionally created bodies. They must exercise more caution,” McBride said.

McBride is still expected to detail what happened at Ipid during his 18-month suspension. He has previously suggested that the efforts to get rid of Dramat, Sibiya and himself were a political move to capture the criminal justice cluster by removing key officials who were investigating alleged corruption.

McBride is also still expected to implicate former national director of public prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, in the capture of the criminal justice sector.

Abrahams’s counsel, Phillip Mahlatsi, told the commission on Thursday that his client had only received notice that he was implicated by McBride the day before.

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.
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