Let's get a move on, lawyer urges Police minister

The court found there was a reasonable prospect of successfully challenging provisions of the Ipid act.

FILE: Ipid head Robert McBride was relieved of his duties this week, by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko. Picture: Barry bateman/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate's (Ipid) attorney has asked Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko for an expedited time period to constitutionally challenge provisions of the Ipid Act.

Ipid head Robert McBride unsuccessfully tried to stop Nhleko from suspending him two weeks ago, but the high court found that there was a reasonable prospect of successfully challenging sections of the legislation.

Nhleko relieved McBride of his duties this week, and has appointed the directorate's Free State head Israel Kgamanyane to act in his place.

Attorney Jac Maree says the sooner the constitutional challenge can be heard, the better it will be for both McBride and minister Nhleko, as there will be clarity on the issue.

McBride argued in court two weeks ago that provisions in the Ipid Act, which Nhleko relied on to act against him, were unconstitutional because they undermine the independence of the directorate.

While not ruling on McBride's application, Judge Hans Fabricius found there was valuable argument made for the independence of oversight bodies such as Ipid, and that such a challenge at the Constitutional Court had a reasonable prospect of success.

But with a new boss at Ipid, it remains to be seen if Nhleko will support a constitutional review of his powers, or simply instruct the acting head to cease the legal action initiated by McBride.