Police Minister asks ConCourt not to set McBride's suspension aside
Robert McBride was suspended by Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko in March last year.
JOHANNESBURG - While Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has conceded that his decision to suspend Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride is invalid, he is asking the Constitutional Court not to set that decision aside.
The court is hearing McBride's application to have provisions in the Ipid Act that allow the minister to act unilaterally against the head of the watchdog body declared unconstitutional.
Nhleko has agreed such provisions undermine the independence of the organisation but he wants his decision to stand.
McBride's advocate Steven Budlender has opposed this argument.
"He seeks an order, which will effectively tie the hands of the National Assembly and Parliament. He seeks to have the disciplinary proceedings instituted proceedings by him, the charges formulated by him and he seeks to have those deemed before the National Assembly."
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Budlender says this would undermine parliament's authority.
"The minister took a decision to suspend Mr McBride and he took a decision to institute disciplinary proceedings and the minister now concedes that those decisions must be declared invalid. But in his draft order he resists an order, setting those decisions aside."
The court grilled Nhleko's counsel on his request to uphold a decision he himself has conceded is invalid.
Nhleko's advocate, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, says the minister is concerned that Parliament will not be capable of taking action against McBride.
"We do not know, currently, what is the machinery in Parliament that has to be applied practically to take this decision that has been suggested (sic)."
But Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says Parliament's capacity should not be underestimated.
"The minister, number one, is a Member of Parliament. All he has to do is gather all the material he has available that could be used to facilitate what needs to be done."