Dintwe supported Nhleko against McBride

2016-11-28 20:17
Sethlomamaru Isaac Dintwe (Alicestine October, Netwerk24)

Sethlomamaru Isaac Dintwe (Alicestine October, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Court documents show that Parliament's candidate for next Inspector General of Intelligence supported Police Minister Nathi Nhleko in his failed court battle against IPID head Robert McBride.

The National Assembly will on Tuesday consider Dr Sethlomamaru Isaac Dintwe’s candidacy for the inspector general post, having been selected by the joint standing committee on intelligence last week from a shortlist of 10.

An affidavit in the Constitutional Court case between Nhleko and McBride in August shows Dintwe gave evidence on behalf of Nhleko's move to have McBride removed from IPID.

Dintwe said the police minister was primarily responsible for the existence of effective policing, and there was a need for "executive authority" over IPID.

"The two should be understood as being complimentary with a common constitutional objective, namely, effective and accountable policing," Dintwe said.

Nhleko was thus within his rights to remove McBride, as IPID was not an "anti-corruption agency", like the Hawks, but an oversight body.

He said it was wrong to see the role of IPID in contrast to that of the minister, as they both played oversight roles.

"It is my considered view that decreasing or amending the involvement of the executive in IPID will in fact undermine the Constitution and relieve the Minister of his or her constitutional duties."

He said the minister's involvement in civilian oversight bodies, like IPID, is not prohibited in literature either.

The police minister's removal of a standing IPID head was only legally offensive if it would stop IPID from discharging its legal duties.

Nhleko's bid was therefore not "political interference", and suggestions to the contrary were speculative and "not based on scientific research".

'Manifestly unfounded'

The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac), though, rejected Dintwe's claims, citing its own affidavit by policing expert David Bruce.

Dintwe’s argument that IPID was not an "anti-corruption agency", and had a limited need for independence, was "manifestly unfounded", Casac said.

IPID's mandate was that of an investigative agency that included probing allegations of unlawful police violence and corruption.

"IPID is therefore an independent investigative body that has a hybrid investigative mandate that overlaps with that of the Hawks.

"Its independence allows it to function effectively and without political interference, thereby enabling it to fulfil its mandate to investigate police corruption."

It should therefore enjoy the same protections to its independence as the Hawks.

Nhleko's case subsequently failed in the Constitutional Court in September, and the independence of IPID was upheld. Mcbride returned to his job, after the National Assembly did not accede to Nhleko's request for an inquiry against the IPID head. Last week, he again wrote to the National Assembly, asking for an inquiry to allow him to suspend Mcbride.

Issue did not come before intelligence committee

Committee chairperson Charles Nqakula would not be drawn on Dintwe's affidavit when asked by News24 on Monday.

"This matter will be serving before Parliament tomorrow," he said.

"The interviews regarding the search for a new Inspector General of Intelligence happened in open session and questions like the ones at issue, should have arisen in time for the consideration of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence," suggesting the committee was not aware of it.

"I am not going to respond, therefore, to the query from News24."

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