Nhleko admits it was wrong to suspend McBride

Nhleko gave up his opposition to the court’s finding that suspending the Ipid head was unconstitutional.

FILE: Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: GCIS.

PRETORIA - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has done an about turn and conceded that the powers he relied on to suspend the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride are unconstitutional, but he's still challenging the court ruling which ordered that the suspension be set aside.

The details are contained in the minister's submissions in McBride's Constitutional Court challenge of the power to suspend the watchdog body's head.

Nhleko suspended McBride for allegedly altering a report into the so-called Zimbabwe rendition matter, allegations which have now formed the basis of a criminal case.

In move similar to what President Jacob Zuma did on the eve of a defining Constitutional Court hearing, the police minister has given up his opposition to the High Court's finding that his powers to unilaterally suspend the head of Ipid are unconstitutional.

It's in stark contrast to the minister's court papers filed in January, where he indicated that he would oppose all aspects of the High Court's order.

Nhleko does, however, argue that the disciplinary action he initiated against McBride should proceed, because the amendments should not apply retrospectively.

The minister says he acted in good faith, procedurally fair on the basis that there was a case of gross misconduct against McBride, which he submits is still the case.

The matter is scheduled to be argued in the Constitutional Court in May.