Robert McBride suspended, replaced

Nathi Nhleko has appointed Ipid Free State Provincial head Israel Kgamanyane to act as national head.

FILE: Robert McBride. Picture: Supplied.

PRETORIA - Eyewitness News can confirm Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has appointed Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Free State Provincial head Israel Kgamanyane to act as national head.

He takes over from suspended head Robert McBride.

The matter relates to the ongoing debacle surrounding an investigation into the rendition of five Zimbabwean suspects in 2010.

Ipid cleared Hawks bosses Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya of their involvement in the matter, but Nhleko claimed an earlier report that implicated the pair was the only legitimate one.

In an internal memo, the police minister informed Ipid staff that McBride had been placed on precautionary suspension pending an investigation.

In the notice of suspension issued two weeks ago, Nhleko accused the suspended Ipid head of not disclosing details of two conflicting reports related to the matters.

He further accused McBride of undermining his oversight role by asking the Parliamentary portfolio committee whether he could brief them on the issue.

The police ministry could not be reached for comment.

NHLEO SUSPENDS THIRD SENIOR OFFICIAL

It's also emerged that Nhleko suspended a third senior official linked to the ongoing Zimbabwean rendition saga.

The two previous senior police officers the minister tried to expel from the police had their suspension declared invalid and unlawful.

On Monday the High Court in Pretoria found acting Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza lacked integrity and showed contemptuous disregard for the law.

Ntlemeza's conduct towards Sibiya centred on the existence of a preliminary report which implicates him in the rendition.

But Ntlemeza refused to disclose to the court why he so stubbornly relied on this report which Ipid said was legally invalid.

It's this same report which Nhleko was using to take on McBride which could explain his argument that the minister was motivated by illegitimate political reasons.

IPID STAFF URGED TO COOPERATE

Staff at Ipid have in the meantime been urged to "fully cooperate" with the new acting head of the unit.

Nhleko said in an internal memo that he expected Ipid management and staff to support Kgamanyane in McBride's absence.

The minister appointed the Free State head of Ipid to act as the boss indefinitely.

In a letter to Kgamanyane congratulating him on his new position, Nhleko said he chose him because of his experience and qualifications.

Two weeks ago, McBride tried to interdict the minister from suspending him, warning that it was a forgone conclusion.

He accused the minister of pursuing a vendetta against Dramat and Sibiya, and said he was motivated by illegitimate political reasons.