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Bad cops & cleaning up SAPS: McBride tells commission of 'patronage system'

McBride made the comments at the Zondo commission on Tuesday while revealing how he and Ipid investigators were harassed, followed, and spied on as part of efforts to deter them from doing their work.

A screengrab fo Robert McBride giving testimony at the Zondo Commission on 15 April 2019.

PRETORIA - Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride has described the South African Police Service (SAPS) as a corrupt system of patronage, in which senior police officers wield power over subordinates in order to get them to carry out unlawful orders.

McBride made the comments at the state capture commission of inquiry on Tuesday while revealing how he and Ipid investigators were harassed, followed and spied on as part of efforts to deter them from doing their work.

He explained how rank and file police officers executed unlawful orders at the behest of their superiors and politicians.

“SAPS runs on a patronage system, ‘I do favours for my seniors, I get promoted’ – that’s how the police system works and people being promoted and appointed to carry out tasks on behalf of seniors,” he said.

McBride said the situation was unlikely to change.

“Unless you have a strong hand about good governance and respect for the rule of law and the Constitution, you will never get the SAPS right. Criminal syndicates require good senior policemen not to investigate past acts of corruption, the current ones being committed and ones in the future.”

Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen is scheduled to testify on Wednesday.

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