McBride vs Cele: Police committee to comply with court deadline
13 February 2019
The Portfolio Committee on Police says it will amend its February programme to prioritise a process to deal with the question of whether or not to renew Robert McBride's contract as the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
In a statement issued on Tuesday, chairperson of the committee Francois Beukman said: "It is anticipated that the committee will on Thursday consider a process proposal on how to deal with the court order, and a timetable for the processing of the order to comply with the 28th of February deadline given by the court."
The committee will ensure that the process is procedurally and substantially fair and in line with the Constitution and the rules of the National Assembly, Beukman said.
McBride filed an urgent application, asking the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to declare a decision by Police Minister Bheki Cele not to renew his appointment as "unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid".
However, in a draft order handed to the High Court on Tuesday, the parties agreed that the decision Cele had taken not to renew McBride's term was a preliminary decision that must still be confirmed or rejected by the Portfolio Committee on Police.
"It is recorded that the second respondent (the portfolio committee) intends to take a decision regarding the renewal of [McBride]'s appointment on or before 28 February," reads the order.
McBride 'left with no option'
The matter was postponed to the urgent court roll and is set down for February 26.
The portfolio committee was ordered to report, via affidavit, on its progress by February 22.
Judge Wendy Hughes granted the order on Tuesday afternoon.
In his affidavit, McBride states: "In light of the minister's conduct and given that my term of office expires on 28 February 2019, I have been left with no option but to approach the court for urgent relief."
He said this was necessary to ensure that the portfolio committee was given the opportunity to consider and make a determination on whether his term of office should be renewed.
"It is critical that the portfolio committee decides the matter before 28 February 2019. If this does not occur, then my term of office will lapse due to the minister's unlawful and unconstitutional conduct."
In papers filed in the High Court in Pretoria, Cele argued that McBride's application was premature and moot.
Cele also said: "IPID will not grind to a halt without him. An acting director will do just fine while the National Assembly and the portfolio committee decide whether to confirm or reject my preliminary decision."
Cele said if his decision was confirmed, the post would be advertised and nothing stopped McBride from applying.
He also added that if his preliminary decision was rejected, McBride's term would be renewed and he would still get his full five-year term.
Cele also denied that he had "prevented" the portfolio committee from making a decision on whether or not to renew McBride's term.