Controversial ex-cop to head S.Africa’s foreign intelligence service
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday appointed a former police officer once accused of gun running, drink driving and a deadly anti-apartheid bombing to head South Africa’s foreign intelligence unit.
resident Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday appointed a former police officer once accused of gun running, drink driving and a deadly anti-apartheid bombing to head South Africa’s foreign intelligence unit.
Robert McBride’s “appointment is one of the critical steps towards the journey to rebuild the agency” said State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
McBride was director of the police watchdog from 2014 until 2019 when parliament controversially refused to extend his contract.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance welcomed his appointment, saying he had transformed the police watchdog to “become a more credible institution than under his predecessors”.
As a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the African National Congress’s military wing, McBride was convicted by the apartheid government for a 1986 bar bombing in Durban that killed three people.
He was later granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In 1998, while working for South African intelligence, he was arrested and detained for six months in Mozambique for suspected gun-running.
In 2011, he was convicted of drink driving and attempting to defeat the ends of justice after crashing his car following a Christmas party.
He was sentenced to five years in prison and removed from the police force, but the case was later overturned on appeal at the High Court.