With daily reports of police brutality, the last appointment that should ever have been made is that of the controversial Robert McBride as the Executive Director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
Today in Parliament the ANC majority in the Police Portfolio Committee supported Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's bizarre nomination of McBride to head up the unit. It is yet another indication that Zuma's ANC is not serious about the fight against corruption or crime. After the disastrous appointments of Jackie Selebi and Bheki Cele, the DA believes the Minister should have chosen differently.
Robert McBride is not the right person for the job.
Firstly, McBride is deeply embedded and loyal to the ANC. The head of IPID must not be linked to any political party in order to investigate police officers, including politically-appointed top brass without fear or favour.
Secondly, the head of IPID needs to be free of controversy, in order to build public trust in his office.
McBride has in the past been involved in numerous scandals:
In 1998, McBride was arrested by the Mozambican police on charges of gun running;
In 1999, while in the company of underworld bosses at an escort agency, McBride was accused of assault; and
In 2011, McBride was convicted of drunken driving and attempting to obstruct justice, and sentenced to five years imprisonment. He was acquitted in April last year.
The DA will today write to Minister Mthethwa requesting that he reconsider the appointment of Robert McBride as IPID head. Should he refuse, the DA will write to President Jacob Zuma requesting that he stop the appointment. Should neither the Minister or the President intervene accordingly, the DA will consider pursuing legal action.
The DA is extremely disheartened by this appointment. That the advertisement for the post had the necessity for a legal qualification excised, speaks to a pre-determined outcome as it was seemingly tailored to McBride's CV. Confidence in the IPID is diminishing at a time when it is most crucial due to increases in police brutality. This appointment is even more disturbing when taking into consideration that since the start of January, approximately eight civilians have been allegedly killed by police. IPID is responsible for investigating these incidences and holding police members to account.
Token appointments based on party affiliation, especially in the security services, is not in the best interest of the public. Zuma's ANC has delivered a major blow to the fight against crime, corruption and police brutality. We will not let this go unanswered without a fight.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, Shadow Minister of Police