South Africa – The appointment of Robert McBride as the right man to run the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) shows how the African National Congress (ANC) manipulates government departments in their favor. IPID is responsible for conducting independent and impartial investigations of criminal offences committed by members of the South African Police and Municipal Police services.
The requirements for this position is a recognized postgraduate degree or equivalent, extensive management and proven leadership skills. Robert McBride does not have any legal background, yet he is the perfect candidate according to the ANC government.
Robert McBride is a staunch ANC supporter, and hailed as a hero, a patriot and committed civil servant by loyal Zuma supporters. This is portrayed as a worrying factor for opposition political parties, and their responses to this appointment are damning. The South African police force continues to slide into an uncontrollable service as officers are connected to more crime than real criminals are. This is indeed a failing democracy for the country.
McBride is well known for his leadership that bombed a restaurant in Durban on June 14, 1986, killing three people and injuring 69 others. He was captured and convicted for this horrible act and sentenced to death. He received an official pardon while on death row and released during 1992 after his actions were classified as politically motivated. McBride received amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for disclosing all the politically motivated violence he was involved in during the apartheid era. The bombing of the restaurant was seen as a gross violation of human rights. By international standards, this type of killing is not a politically motivated murder, rather the target of innocent victims.
The nomination to appoint McBride to run the IPID unit is seen as another indication of how the ANC is not serious about the fight against corruption and crime. The daily reports of police brutality continue to infuse anger, and the plight of millions now rests in the hands of McBride. The former appointment of Jackie Selebi and Bheki Cele were disastrous and now with McBride at the helm is considered another failure for the democracy of South Africa.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) official opposition party of the ANC has reacted with contempt at the appointment of McBride and wants the President Jacob Zuma to intervene. The DA will seek legal representation if the appointment is recognized by the government. McBride is a fiercely loyal supporter of the ANC and the DA believe the head of the IPID should not be linked to any political party. The DA believes the head of the IPID needs to be free from controversy and enable to build public trust.
The events surrounding McBride and his previous arrests for crimes involving gunrunning, violence and drunk driving are seen as a direct disrespect for the law and have surprisingly received a mixed reaction from the public. He received an appeal against his charges last year.
The Police Minister, Nathi Mthethwa was convinced that McBride was the perfect candidate for the head of IPID. He confirmed that McBride demonstrated a clear understanding and perception of the IPID and had extensive experience in this position. McBride is considered a highly skilled, strategic and experienced person, who will lead the IPID into a trusted service.
McBride as head of IPID will have the responsibility to investigate any member of the SAPS linked to criminal activities, police brutality and corruption within that department. McBride is seen as a man without integrity, and his loyalty to the ANC party will cause the public trust to deteriorate in the ruling government. While McBride does not have any legal qualification for this position, his nomination by the ANC defends his character and support for this lucrative position. This appointment is seen as a potential conflict of interest, a position many than will cause the controversial McBride to survive under intense scrutiny from the opposition parties.
McBride might just be the right person for the job. He has a colorful history from his involvement on both sides of the law. A fundamental loyal person and has a strong commitment to represent the leading party. His reign as head of the IPID department should be seen as a challenge and an opportunity for South Africa to realize that humans do err.
The public and opposition parties mix to the shocking appointment of Robert McBride is fraught emotional blackmail. McBride should be allowed the benefit of the doubt, and support from the opposition parties and the public can encourage the man to deliver an excellent work. It is all about strategic planning. Perhaps the opposition parties could have invested in the strategy of McBride as head of the IPID.
By Laura Oneale