Home News Notorious ex-cop to head S.Africa police watchdog

Notorious ex-cop to head S.Africa police watchdog

Published on 28/02/2014

A former South African police officer once accused of gun running and jailed for a deadly anti-apartheid bombing was named on Friday as the new head of the country's police watchdog.

Robert McBride, a former member of the ruling ANC’s ex-military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), will start his job at the Independent Police Investigative Directorate on Monday.

Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa said he was confident McBride would steer the unit “to become an effective and efficient oversight institution within the criminal justice system.”

However, McBride’s chequered past led opposition parties to criticise his appointment.

Some of his run-ins with the law date back to the apartheid era.

As a member of MK, he was convicted by the apartheid government for the 1986 bombing of a bar in Durban that killed three people.

He was later granted amnesty by the post-apartheid 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 1999 he allegedly assaulted an employee at an escort agency.

In 2011 he was convicted of drink driving and attempting to defeat the ends of justice and sentenced to five years in prison which was later overturned on appeal.

South Africa’s nearly 200-strong police force has been plagued by scandals, including over its use of force.

The watchdog’s annual report revealed that there were 431 cases of death as a result of police action reported between 2012 and 2013.

A further 4,132 cases involved assault by officers.