Bheki Cele responds to Robert McBride: Your contract at IPID won't be renewed...period

Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Thursday formally informed the former head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Robert McBride that his contract will not be renewed.

McBride's term at IPID comes to an end at February 28 this year. 

McBride had earlier requested written reasons for Cele's decision not to renew or extend his contract of employment, demanding that the reasons be furnished to him by no later than close of business on January 24.

READ: Robert McBride fights to keep his job as IPID boss

In a curt letter dated January 24 (Thursday), Cele informs McBride that he had forwarded his decision not to renew McBride's contract to Parliament for consideration. 

"Your letter dated 22 January 2019 refers, the content which have been noted," Cele writes. 

"This reply does not intend to deal with each and every averment in your letter and a failure to do so must not be seen as an admission thereof.

"...It must however be placed on record that I do not intend to remove you from office. Your term of office expires on 28 February 2019 and the intention of my letter was to make that visible to yourself. 

"...based on governing labour law principles you cannot claim any right or legitimate expectation to the renewal of your contract,"

In an earlier letter dated January 16, Cele wrote to McBride: "I hereby inform you that I have decided not to renew or extend your employment contract as executive director of IPID. You are hereby advised that your last official working day will be on Thursday, the 28th of February 2019."

McBride then responded to Cele, arguing that it was for the portfolio committee on police - the body responsible for confirming the appointment of the executive director of IPID - to determine whether or not to renew or extend his term of office, and not the minister of police.

McBride also wrote to the chairperson of the portfolio committee on police, Francois Beukman. 

In both letters, McBride threatened that he would seek urgent legal redress should Cele and the portfolio committee on police not address his concerns.

In 2015, McBride was in a protracted fight with former police minister Nathi Nhleko after he was suspended. He was also accused of tampering with an IPID report.

McBride also challenged Nhleko's powers to suspend him at the time, and argued that the suspension contradicted the independence of IPID.

Nhleko's decision to suspend McBride was then found to have been invalid and was set aside by the Constitutional Court.

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