ConCourt to rule on McBride's bid to secure Ipid's independence

Robert McBride, the suspended Ipid head, is fighting to have his suspension declared unlawful.

Suspended Ipid boss Robert McBride addresses the media at the Constitutional Court. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

PRETORIA - The Constitutional Court will today rule on Robert McBride's application to secure the independence of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) and whether his current suspension is lawful.

In May, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko conceded that the provisions he relied on to suspend McBride were unlawful and that his decision was invalid but still wanted the decision to stand.

The minister further accepted that the High Court ruling had also found that several provisions of the Ipid Act undermined the body's independence.

McBride was suspended and later criminally charged for allegedly altering an investigation report to exonerate senior Hawks officials.

While it is expected that the Constitutional Court will reaffirm the High Court's ruling to strike down several provisions of the Ipid Act, the focus will be on the status of McBride.

Nhleko has conceded that provisions, which allow him to unilaterally act against McBride, are unconstitutional and undermine its independence.

But he wanted his decision to suspend McBride to stand.

It was argued, and even noted by the judges, that the disciplinary procedures against the suspended head should start afresh and he should be subjected to a parliamentary process.

McBride is facing charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice for allegedly altering an investigation report, charges he has strongly denied.