30/11/2016 09:27 SAST | Updated 30/11/2016 10:58 SAST

Nhleko On The McBride Case: The Court Had A Problem With The Law

He says the court had no problems with the steps he took.

"I don't know how the process like the one in Parliament can be abused."
AFP/Getty Images
"I don't know how the process like the one in Parliament can be abused."

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on Tuesday denied claims that his bid to have Parliament launch an inquiry into Ipid head Robert McBride was an abuse of process.

Nhleko was briefing media at Parliament to deny a City Press report that claimed he signed off on an alleged R30m deal with a non-governmental organisation run by his reported girlfriend Nomcebo Mthembu.

According to the report, he was readying to "pull out all the stops" to find dirt on McBride, who returned to his job as head of the police watchdog in October.

"People have the right to express an opinion, or the right to allege," he said about the McBride issue.

"But that's simply an allegation. I don't know how the process like the one in Parliament can be abused ... Part of my misgiving is that I do not know why anyone would have a problem with a process to establish whether there is some degree of truth to a particular allegation or not."

The setting up of an inquiry did not mean McBride was guilty of anything, he said.

Last week, Nhleko asked National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to consider launching a disciplinary process into McBride about a decade-old attempted murder case.

ConCourt judgment

Nhleko's Constitutional Court case to have McBride removed as head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) failed in September.

The court confirmed that Nhleko did not have the legal power to suspend McBride. In a unanimous judgment, Acting Justice Ronnie Bosielo said sections of the Ipid Act that permitted him to suspend McBride did not sufficiently insulate McBride from potential political interference.

The court declared McBride's suspension invalid and set it aside. The suspension was kept in place for 30 days to allow Parliament to begin a disciplinary process, if it decided to do so. The 30 days lapsed with Parliament taking no action.

Nhleko said the court did not rule that the merits of the case were incorrect. Instead, it had "a problem with the law".

He said the court read sections of the DPCI Act, which governs the Hawks, into the Ipid Act to accommodate the Ipid's right to independence.

The court did not have a problem with the steps he took, but with the provisions of the valid law, subsection 6 of the Ipid Act, which he relied on to suspend McBride, he said.

Media reports and politicians were "copycatting" each other in reporting that the case was a failure and that there had been political interference, he said.

He has asked Parliament to consider the court record and decide if it would hold an inquiry into McBride's right to hold office.