‘Ulterior motives’ in McBride suspension, court hears

2015-03-13 12:45

Ulterior motives are behind Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s plan to suspend Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Robert McBride, the North Gauteng High Court has heard.

“This is a power that has been exercised for an ulterior purpose,” McBride’s lawyer Steven Budlender submitted today.

“We still don’t know on precisely which provision the minister relies for this suspension,” he told the court.

McBride received a letter from Nhleko asking him to make submissions on why he should not be suspended.

He had made the submissions as a matter of caution.

Budlender confirmed that McBride had not yet been suspended and that, according to discussions in chambers, it was agreed he would not be suspended until judgment was delivered.

Read: Robert McBride in the firing line

He asked the court to declare the minister’s decision unlawful and invalid, and sought an order declaring unlawful provisions giving the minister permission to suspend the head of an independent body.

Budlender argued that it was essential that the directorate remain independent of the South African Police Service, because its job was to investigate the police.

“There’s an obvious risk that he [Nhleko] will seek to interfere,” he told the court.

It was problematic that the minister could suspend, remove and replace the head of the directorate with “no checks and balances” to ensure that the person was independent of the minister.

During the tea break, McBride, wearing a black, pinstriped suit and mustard tie, spoke on his phone in the front row of the public gallery. He appeared cheerful when he arrived at court earlier.

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