Independent Police Investigative Directorate Head: request by Minister of Police for approval of nomination of Mr R McBride, Traditional Courts' Bill: update on replies from provincial legislatures

NCOP Security and Justice

03 February 2014
Chairperson: Mr T Mofokeng (ANC, Free State)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee Secretary read out an update report setting out the process and responses from the provinces so far, in respect of the Traditional Courts Bill, which would be discussed again by the Committee on 12 February.

The Minister of the Police briefed the Committee on the nomination of Mr Robert McBride to head the  Independent Police Investigative Directorate. This nomination required the approval of Parliament. The importance of the IPID, and the requirements for the post, as well as a short summary of the procedures followed, was given. In the views of the panel and the Minister, Mr McBride was the most suitable candidate, as he was believed to have a strong managerial capability that could lead the organisation. The majority of Members present expressed their approval of the nomination. However, the DA Member recorded the objections of his party, saying that the integrity and honesty of the candidate was questionable, in view of his past history, and that it was not believed that his appointment would do anything to assist police morale. One ANC Member responded with an attack on the DA and asserted that this party had been responsible for policy bribery in the past, which it did not want Mr McBride to uncover during his tenure. The Minister provided more clarity on the process, and pointed out that although the media had also questioned the fact that Mr McBride was a loyal ANC member, the same had also held true for the former head of IPID, whose appointment was not questioned on those grounds. The majority of Members resolved to convey approval of the nomination to the House.

The Committee Content Advisor and Researcher briefed the Committee shortly on the content and aims of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, which would be presented to the Committee on the following day.
 

Meeting report

Traditional Courts Bill: Update on replies received from provincial legislatures
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary, Mr G Dixon, to read out his report on the progress with the Traditional Courts Bill, detailing the replies that had been received from provincial legislatures

The attached report (see documents) was presented verbatim.

The Chairperson said that more discussion on the Bill would take place on 12 February 2014.

Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID): Nomination of Mr Robert McBride to head the: Ministerial briefing and request for approval from Parliament
Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Police, briefed the Committee on the nomination of Mr Robert McBride to head the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which required the approval of Parliament.

Minister Mthethwa explained that IPID had been without a permanent head for more than a year. He noted that section 6(1) of the Independent Police Investigation Directorate Act, No 1 of 2011, enjoined the Minister to appoint a suitable and qualified person to head the IPID, in line with the procedure to be determined by the Minister. Furthermore, in accordance with section 6(2) of the Act, the Minister must submit nominations for approval to Parliament to consideration. He stressed that IPID was an important institution, which had responsibilities to investigate any misconduct by members of South African Police Services (SAPS). 

The Minister outlined the process of the appointment to date. The process of filling the position began with a newspaper advertisement in 2013, when 49 applications were received in response to the advertisement, and six applicants were short-listed. The requirements for the post required a recognised post-graduate degree or equivalent qualification, extensive management and leadership skills, a sound knowledge of the function of SAPS and the municipal police services and strategic policing related matters, strategic capability and leadership skills, with a strong service delivery ethos, and multi-layered function orientation. It was noted that IPID required to have a skilled and high performance culture with a transformation propensity.

The first round of interview in June 2013 could not come up with a suitable candidate, while the second round of interviews on 10 September 2013 had isolated what was thought to be the best candidate to take IPID forward. The nominated candidate, Mr McBride, demonstrated a clear understanding and insight of the IPID core mandate, had extensive experience and knowledge of policy and was highly skilled and strategically qualified in his managerial approach. The candidate also possessed the qualification of a BA degree in International Politics, B. Tech Honours in Policing and a Diploma in Foreign Relations. During the interviews the candidate was found to have performed above average and a competence test concurred with the view of the panel.

Minister Mthethwa thought that it was important to mention that everybody must respect and abide by the rule of law. Some comments had been made on the suitability of Mr McBride, based on perceptions about his character and the fact that charges were at one stage laid against him, which were dismissed. It was easy for those who did not have sufficient insight into matters to claim that anybody was not an appropriate candidate. He assured the Committee that in reality the process had been very thorough, with full checks and double-checks, and this reached the conclusion that Mr McBride was a suitable candidate. The Ministry and Department needed strong leadership to ensure that the police did their jobs, whilst at the same time there was an exercise to strengthen the SAPS. He note that if there were members of SAPS who were found to have acted on the wrong side f the law, IPID would need to investigate and present facts, so that the SAPS would not have, within the organisation, individuals who were abrogating power to themselves that they should not have. He believed that Mr McBride as head of the IPID would be able to get to the bottom of such issues.

Discussion
Mr AG Matila (ANC, Gauteng) welcomed the nomination of McBride. He asked Minister to clarify the issues that had been circulating in the media, especially those raised by the Democratic Alliance, who had expressed its dissatisfaction with Minister’s nomination, and “especially the nomination of the people who fought against the apartheid regime”. The DA had been raising various unfounded allegations but the problem was that this party, in his view, did so when it suited the party, more precisely to discredit the liberation fighters, whilst anything that might tend to discredit the DA was put under the carpet. That, he asserted, was in the culture of the DA. He asked the Minister to explain in more detail why the candidate was considered suitable.

The Chairperson responded that it would not be proper for the Minister to respond to the news being circulated in the media, and asked that Members should confine themselves to the facts as presented by the Minister.

Mr J Gunda (ID, Northern Cape) welcomed the nomination of McBride and thanked the Minister for clarifying that 49 applicants responded to advertisement and 6 applicants were shortlisted. This was a very important post that had to do with the morale of the police and the discipline of the police. The advertisement indicated who would be a suitable candidate, but a suitable candidate differed from a qualified candidate.  He asked the Minister whether he was satisfied that the discipline would be handled properly by the nominated director and whether he was satisfied that the morale of the police would be built, given the reputation of McBride.

Mr J Bekker (DA, Western Cape) was opposed to the nomination of Mr McBride. The government was struggling to build public trust in the police. He referred the current police situation to the 1994 situation before the end of the apartheid regime, in which the population could not trust the police, stating that from that point, government had to ensure that trust would be built up in the police, towards a new country. This institute of the IPID was of utmost importance, as it was intended to address crime and discipline within the police service, and to build trust in the police. It was very necessary to build a high standard of morale and high ethics. He suspected that the nomination was based on the predetermined outcomes as the requirements appeared to have been tailored specifically, to meet the CV of this candidate. He urged that in all security services, no nominations could be done on the basis of political affiliation. The DA had no choice but to fight this, up to the highest court. History suggested that this nomination would be a huge mistake, similar to the appointment of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Mr L Nzimande (ANC, KwaZulu Natal) seconded the proposal to support the nomination of the candidate. The candidate was nominated on the basis of what the panel saw on his CV and interviews. Besides matters raised by the people, he had noted his work and he was convinced that Mr McBride was competent to run the institution. There was a difference between what the candidate would offer and the procedures that must be followed to perform his work. This was a management position. He was not being asked to be an investigator. The Committee needed to separate the issue of morale in the police from the nomination, because these were two separate matters. The Committee should focus on what Mr McBride could offer in terms of leadership but not the cases involving him, which were a different matter to be determined by courts, as had been done. The Committee ought to bear in mind that the IPID and SAPS had different mandates. The IPID was an independent entity. He therefore endorsed the nomination.

Mr Matila pointed out that when the DA was part of the government prior to 1994, it supported police commissioners and “gave them dirt money to make sure that corruption is part of the daily services in the police force”. That was why the ANC government inherited wrongdoing in that particular force. Today the DA wanted to tell the Committee something different. He claimed that the very same DA was claiming on the one hand to “be clean, whilst they are corrupting Dr Mamphele Ramphela”. The DA of 1994 had never changed. He asserted that it was because the DA feared that McBride would reveal all the DA’s “dirt work it has been doing in the police force” that it was opposed to him.

Mr Bekker said that Mr Matila’s statement was an attack on the DA, and urged that political attacks must be left outside this discussion on the nomination. Everybody agreed the importance of the country doing something about crime and corruption. He did not know Mr McBride personally but what he knew was that he was, several times, reported to have done something very controversial.

The Minister responded that, in relation to police morale, it was very important to close the gaps in IPID. It had lacked a strong leadership. The police entity was a strong institution everywhere in the world. It was the only institution that could stop people from committing crimes, including by arresting them. If wrong people were in that space, that exposed citizens to the wrong hands. That was why it was important to strengthen IPID. A courageous leader in IPID was needed to face this very important and powerful institution in our society. A few days ago, Parliamentarians had raised concerns that the IPID lacked the leadership and capacity. However, now a candidate was being presented who had the qualities of leadership that were wanted, including the courage and spirit that he showed in the past. The Minister did not want a person who would follow the low-ranked police officers. He believed that Mr McBride was a strong candidate who could do the job properly.

Responding to the suspicions raised by Mr Bekker, the Minister asserted that it was not correct that the requirements of this post were “determined by the nominee” or tailored to his CV. If this was the case, furthermore, then it meant that the representatives of the DA themselves were involve, because one of the requirements originally had been that the candidate must hold a legal qualification, for the reason that it was hoped to strengthen the legal unit within IPID. However, this time around, that was not a specific requirement. The emphasis instead was placed on strong leadership.  He asked to be given an opportunity to deal with what allegations in the media that Mr McBride was an ANC cadre deployment and ANC loyalist, which were linked to fears that this might prevent him from performing his task well. Mr McBride was not the only candidate or nominee the Minister presented to Parliament. Three years ago the Minister presented a candidate who was nominated by him who was both a loyal member of the ANC and former ANC MP, but there was no complaints then about him being an ANC cadre. This member had subsequently resigned from the position, and he was back representing the ANC currently in Parliament. There was no logic in the assertion that simply because one was a loyal ANC member, one was also a cadre deployment. The Minister could not see a rational argument about that point.

The Minister stressed that there was no requirement that the IPID must be directed by someone who was not an ANC member. Strategic leadership was what was important, and he had checked that the candidate met all these critical requirements. With reference to the police morale, the IPID was not there to build morale but to ensure the fairness of the police when dealing with the population and to ensure that the police officers did not abuse their power.

The Chairperson noted that, given that the majority of the Committee support, the Committee would be endorsing the Ministerial nomination.

Private Security Industry Regulatory Amendment Bill: Committee Content Advisor and Researcher’s briefing
Ms Patricia Whittle, Committee Researcher, and Ms Anthea van der Burg, Committee Content Advisor, briefed the Committee on the content and intent of the Bill that would be more fully presented to the Committee on the following day.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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