Robert McBride, head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has refuted an affidavit from current Gauteng Hawks head Prince Mokotedi, which accused him of being involved in a treason plot. Speaking at an IPID briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, McBride brushed off the allegations saying it is basically an attempt to get him out of office.
"The allegation made is based on hearsay from a single source. The statement must be rejected completely that there is any illegal activity that IPID and IPID investigators are involved in," McBride told reporters.
McBride was suspended in March 2015 over accusations that he had illegally deported a group of Zimbabweans accused of murder. McBride, together with Anwa Dramat, then head of the Hawks, former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya and the Hawks Colonel Lesley Maluleke were accused of kidnapping, defeating the ends of justice and contravention of the Immigration Act, for their alleged involvement in the arrest of seven Zimbabwean immigrants and subsequent handing over of four of the fugitives to the Zimbabwean police for arrest. McBride was accused of doctoring a report into the matter, which cleared the trio of any wrongdoing. Since then he has found himself in the middle of a legal battle which has resulted in him being suspended from his position. The Constitutional Court, however, ruled that his suspension was unlawful and he returned to work.
On Monday, an alleged plot to assassinate Hawks head General Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza was uncovered, with the conspirators allegedly involving McBride, private investigator Paul O'Sullivan, former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya, representatives of AfriForum and the Democratic Alliance.
Mokotedi reported the plot in an affidavit filed at the Bedfordview police station. In the affidavit, Mokotedi said he was informed by a source that a meeting was held at the former house of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir in Bedfordview, which is now apparently owned by O'Sullivan through intricate company shareholding.
"The attendees of that meeting included, Mr. Paul O'Sullivan, a private investigator and accused in several matters that the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] is investigating, Mr. Robert McBride, the current executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Mr. Shadrack Sibiya, an employee of the Johannesburg City and former employee of the DPCI, some persons who were representatives of AfriForum, a minority rights interest group for Afrikaners, others who were representatives of the DA, a registered political party," Mokotedi said in the affidavit.
He further indicated that the source informed him that the attendees had a braai and held discussions where, among other things, they identified certain people as targets for "vexatious criminal investigations" and shaming in the media. He said the motive for targeting the individuals was that they were close or supporters of President Jacob Zuma.
Mokotedi said the targets of the alleged plots included the national acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Kgomotso Phahlane, Ntlemeza, Mokotedi himself, NPA head Shaun Abrahams and head of the state security agency Arthur Fraser.
"The attendees agreed that Mr. Paul O'Sullivan should collect information and dig [up] dirt that would implicate the above-mentioned persons in any kind of transgressions especially on corruption and other acts of criminality. The group held discussions on several matters that the IPID is investigating against Lieutenant General Phahlane and Ntlemeza, and those cases must be finalised within the next month and be submitted to the NPA for decision. The group further agreed that should the NPA decline to prosecute, AfriForum and the DA should pursue for private prosecution," he said.
Mokotedi said in the affidavit that the group agreed that O'Sullivan should raise funds for the project and identify more journalists who would be willing to publish stories on the targeted group. He fingered a Saps employee Candice Coetzee as the person supplying O'Sullivan with his information.
The affidavit alleges that there were at least two meetings between the conspirators with the first one taking place in March of 2016 followed by the one in December. The April meeting is said to have taken place at the Michaelangelo Hotel in Sandto, along with members of the Zimbabwean intelligence agency and Serbian nationals. The two meetings held on December 3 and 12 were allegedly meant to "concretise" and put in motion a plan to destabilise the security forces of the country and to oust the president of the through a popular revolt. Mokotedi accused the group of committing high treason.
"It was disclosed by the group that Paul O'Sullivan has collected damaging evidence against Mr. Duduzani Zuma, the president's son, and that information can be used to mobilise the community to revolt and pressure the president to quit office. The group also agreed that the activities that they have planned against the targeted group should be used to mobilise for an "Arab Spring" type of revolt in the country," he said.
Mokotedi indicated that the report also said he and Ntlemeza should be dealt with immediately, including being assassinated as they were pursuing the rendition matter. Mokotedi has called for the group to be investigated for high treason, espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, corruption, intimidation and harassment, defeating the ends of justice and tax evasion.
McBride, on Tuesday, admitted to a meeting in Bedfordview but denied anything untoward was discussed during the meeting.
"Paul O'Sullivan is a complainant in a number of matters against members of DPCI and the police. In terms of our experience with Paul O'Sullivan, his information has always been accurate even when we thought he wasn't. As a complainant, we will regularly meet with him, he will assist us with investigations. That's a given that we will meet with complainants," he said.