Rogue cops, corruption and patronage: McBride testifies about 'rotten' SAPS at state capture inquiry

Robert McBride.
Robert McBride.
Felix Dlangamandla

Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) head Robert McBride says the SA Police Service (SAPS) runs on patronage.

"That is how it has been running. Promotions in this area will be related to protecting seniors involved in corruption and maladministration.

"It is a system that has not been challenged and the intention of a corruption syndicate is to steal money," McBride told the Zondo commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture on Tuesday.

The former IPID boss was testifying about alleged attempts to capture the SAPS, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

SCROLL: Nhleko employed convicted fraudster as chief of staff – McBride testifies at state capture

McBride delved into alleged corruption at the SAPS, testifying about an IPID investigation into the relationship police commissioner General Kgomotso Phahlane had with service providers.

"The issue is that one of the service providers had assisted in the funding of the building of Mr Phahlane's house; the provider was involved in forensic equipment.

"A motor car dealer provided vehicles to the Phahlane family and other police officers. Later on, they would claim it was sponsorships, even though they were on and insured by the Phahlane name," McBride explained.

A task team McBride formed upon his return to IPID in October 2016 obtained a search warrant to Phahlane's home which found a sound system installed by one of the service providers.

He further explained how the task team's investigation led to a counter-investigation within the police service aimed at protecting corrupt senior officials.

"A complaint was initiated within the police service by Phahlane that there was a security breach at his house and that his life was in danger.

"He then directed that a team should be constructed to investigate the security breach."

ALSO READ: A look back into the case against Phahlane

Phahlane contacted a general from the North West, McBride explained. A team from the North West, led by General Ntebo Mabula, was then moved to Gauteng and was based in Arcadia, Tshwane to conduct a counter-investigation which targeted IPID officials who were investigating senior SAPS officials, the former IPID head charged.

McBride was of the view that the SAPS as an organisation was not fond of any form of oversight.

"Was the motive or aim to drive you out of IPID or deter you from any determination [to] fight corruption?" Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked.

"SAPS is the oldest institution in South Africa, the idea of oversight/investigation – they do not like that. They have not been re-orientated towards constitutionalism and the rule of law. This further feeds into patronage and corruption.

"For the good police officers that work diligently who are not in it for being compliant with corruption – they have to start at some stage thinking what is this all for when they see someone getting promoted because they are close to Colonel etc. It demoralises people who are good at their work. They either leave or start thinking in their own material situations," McBride said in response.

The inquiry continues.

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