‘Death threats part of the job’

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TAKING HEAT: Ipid head Robert McBride. PICTURE: THAPELO MOREBUDI

GETTING death threats is part of the job, according to the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Robert McBride.

He as well as IPID members of staff has received threats against their lives. “It’s a normal issue. It’s part of the job,” he said.

IPID he said in Parliament yesterday was in an environment where the subjects of their investigations did not want to be investigated by non-police or housemen.

McBride, told the Police Portfolio Committee, that this was a culture that IPID was up against. “We expect some heat to come our way.”

Questioned about a blue light convoy that had made its way to Parliament yesterday morning, McBride said the usage of these convoys were discussed with the previous National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega as well as with the Police Civilian Secretariat.

“We saw it is an important matter. There isn’t a clear criterion as to who could use it and under what conditions. We have also raised it with the civilian scenario. We saw it as a major risk in future.” The public, he said, was “taking on a vigilante approach and on occasion almost blocking” blue light convoys.

Unless this issue was dealt, the public was educated about the reasons for using blue light convoys and how they should respond to them, a situation could arise where people could die because something was mistaken for an attack, McBride said.

On allegations made against IPID at the Moerane Commission of Inquiry that is examining political violence in KwaZulu-Natal, McBride said that the person who had appeared before the body to give evidence on behalf of IPID had done so without permission.

IPID would make its own presentation to the Moerane Commission. “There have been generalizations by the person who went that IPID is dysfunctional. IPID is not investigating the murders. The SAPS does that. IPID is not involved in investigating murders in Glebelands. It’s got nothing  to do with us,” McBride said.

He said “there is clear collusion between that person from our office and some of the NGOs. It’s unfair on us and the good work that we are doing”.

It was also unfair that based on four out of the thousands of cases IPID was investigating someone could come to the conclusion that the oversight unit was dysfunctional. “I think people are playing with lives and the important work IPID is doing.”

IPID’s Head of Investigations Advocate Matthews Sesoko said that it was not the first time the person McBride had referred to “has embarked on this kind of antics”. Sesoko said: “He has put our facts that are incorrect. We don’t have trust issues with the communities.”

-DENNIS CRUYWAGEN

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