The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to request that she urgently summon the Acting Head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), Victor Senna, and former IPID Head, Robert McBride, to appear before Parliament following revelations that the directorate has for years been closing cases without proper investigation. It is alleged that this practice was designed to manipulate IPID’s targets in order to attract additional funding from National Treasury.
These are serious allegations of misconduct and fraud which require a full interrogation by Parliament. This alleged criminality on the part of IPID does not only defraud the state of millions, but it also robs victims and their families of justice.
An investigation by the investigative unit, Viewfinder, and media house, Eyewitness News, allege that some of the cases that have been closed without proper investigation include acts of rape, death as a result of police action and death in police custody. The investigation was based on Public Protector reports dating back as far as 2012 as well as former IPID head, Robert McBride’s testimony at the Zondo Commission.
IPID has since denied these allegations. However, it is apparent that this investigation followed a clear paper trail and its findings requires scrutiny by the Portfolio Committee. If these allegations are true, it is a serious offence as IPID clearly misled Parliament and the public in its annual reports.
Clearly all is not well at IPID and it is for this reason that they have to account to Parliament. In terms of Section 14(2) of the Powers and Privileges Act the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee has the right to request the Secretary of Parliament to summon a witness to account to Parliament.
IPID is not above the law and any wrongdoing on its part will not be tolerated. Now more than ever, the directorate requires a committed, independent and decisive leader as its Head to ensure effective oversight and investigation of police wrongdoing.
The DA will pursue this matter to its conclusion because South Africans deserve an honest and professional police service. This is not possible if the ‘police watchdog’ behaves in a corrupt and fraudulent manner.