McBride a perfect groom in marriage of skill and experience
WHAT a silly fuss about struggle hero Robert McBride being chosen to head the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid). So typical of racist, Eurocentric liberals not to appreciate the unique skills set he brings to the job.
Confirming the cabinet recommendation to Parliament, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the Ipid was “an important tool” in the arsenal against police criminality. McBride “will help this important institution to achieve (its) mandate”.
Admittedly, McBride lacks the lofty academic credentials of, say, Dr Mark Shaw, whom Beeld reports to be one of the rejected shortlisted candidates. Shaw headed the Institute for Security Studies’ crime and police section, advised the Gauteng safety minister, chaired the Committee of Inquiry on Police Reform, and was chief drafter of the government’s 1998 white paper on Safety and Security.
Shaw then joined the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, where he was chief of the Justice Reform Unit and worked on the Programme Against Transnational Organised Crime.
He did extensive field work on policing in fragile and post-conflict states before being head-hunted by a Hong Kong consultancy that deals with community and conflict issues around the world.
But, hey, McBride is no academic slouch. He has a brace of BAs as well as a couple of diplomas in the art of foreign diplomacy. He also has experience in bomb-making.
Think also of the hands- on practical experience he will bring to the task.
Ipid investigates the outrages rogue police perpetrate. Who better to understand the interplay of scruples and excess in the more than 700 deaths of suspects each year at the hands of the police, than McBride, who killed three women and wounded 69 people with a bomb placed in Magoo’s Bar in Durban in 1986?
In any case, although politically unreconstructed citizens twitter squeamishly about the Magoo’s escapade as if it demonstrates a fundamental character flaw in McBride, they ignore that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted him amnesty. Sometimes you have to get your hands wet, um dirty, I mean.
If anything, the Magoo’s bombing demonstrates that here is a man who knows how to follow orders and understands the chain of command.
This will be a critical talent when dealing with incidents like the Marikana massacre – where the police shot and killed 34 miners – in deciding exactly where responsibility should be allocated and where deflected.
While the likes of Shaw might know about policing “fragile and post- conflict” societies, McBride knows about the murky circumstances in which fragility and conflict are actually created.
He was once arrested – charges were later dropped – for arms smuggling in Mozambique while, he claims, on assignment for the National Intelligence Agency.
There were convictions, too, for drunk driving and defeating the ends of justice, resulting in jail sentences that were overturned on appeal.
So McBride understands firsthand that being accused of bad things doesn’t make one a bad person.
It is likely that the interviewing committee – fortuitously consisting mostly of his old armed struggle comrades – will have taken this into consideration in preferring him to some ingénue who has never even seen the inside of a jail cell.
During McBride’s trial for drunk driving and defeating the ends of justice, there were eye- popping accounts of Ekurhuleni Metro Police under his control being a mire of rigged promotions, false statements, the kidnapping of suspects, the assault of witnesses and the covering up of crimes.
These were obviously frivolous accusations – why else would Ekurhuleni spent R12m in ratepayers’ money to defend McBride? – but nevertheless, again all grist to the experience mill.
Simply put, McBride’s appointment is in the highest tradition of ANC cadre deployment. Can’t wait for the ANC’s new integrity committee to give it its public seal of approval.