McBride vs Minister of Police Judgment
6 September 2016
Today, the Constitutional Court delivered judgment in the matter between Mr Robert McBride, the Executive Director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), and the Minister of Police. The Helen Suzman Foundation acted as a friend of the court (amicus curiae).
The Court declared certain provisions of the IPID Act (and certain regulations and proclamations) invalid to the extent that they are incompatible with the Constitution in that they unlawfully extend the Minister’s powers.
The Constitutional Court directed Parliament to address these defects within 24 months. In the interim, the Court ordered that the procedure for removing the Executive Director be the same as the procedure for removing the Head of the Hawks (as modified by the Constitutional Court in the earlier judgment of Helen Suzman Foundation v President of the Republic of South Africa).
The Constitutional Court declared the decision of the Minister of Police to suspend Mr McBride from his position as Executive Director invalid and set it aside. This declaration was suspended for 30 days to permit the National Assembly to consider whether or not to take action against Mr McBride.
Today’s decision vindicates the independence of IPID, a body tasked by the Constitution to investigate police misconduct. Like Glenister II and Helen Suzman Foundation, it protects state institutions responsible for fighting crime, corruption and the misuse of state power from malign political interference.
The HSF is pleased with the decision of the Constitutional Court and is delighted at the vindication of Mr McBride’s rights. This decision fits in with the constant values that the HSF stands for, namely, to ensure the independence of institutions such as IPID.
Issued by Francis Antonie, Director, HSF, 6 September 2016