Metro chief in 'jobs to criminal pals'

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

A jobs-for-pals scandal has erupted around the embattled Ekurhuleni Metro police chief Robert McBride.

Damning information reaching Sowetan claims he hired close friends who were not trained as traffic officers. Some apparently have criminal records.

One of them is Ndumiso MacBeth Ndaba, sought by police in Mpumalanga since 2000. According to a warrant of arrest issued on May 19 2000, Ndaba was wanted for impersonating a police officer in Oshoek.

Police spokesman Superintendent Abie Khoabane confirmed yesterday that Ndaba had handed himself over to the police on Tuesday.

He appeared in the Mayflower court near Ermelo on Wednesday for pretending to be a cop in Oshoek and was officially remanded.

But a highly placed source said that he had been surreptitiously released on R1 000 bail on the same day.

Ndaba was part of the VIP protection unit for mayor, Duma Nkosi.

Nkosi's spokesman Prince Hamnca confirmed this yesterday, but said he did not know that Ndaba had handed himself over to the police in Mpumalanga .

Sources, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said Ndaba has also been convicted of theft.

Mxolisi Vincent Kali is another of McBride's appointees who is not trained for his job and is also a convicted criminal.

Johannesburg police confirmed that in 1995 Kali was sentenced to four year for abduction. Sources said that Kali has been registered as a land invasion officer but was operating as a traffic officer. They say that a court has ruled Kali is not permitted to carry a firearm, which is why McBride had him registered as a land invasion officer, a post that deals primarily with the enforcement of municipal bylaws.

They say McBride knew that Kali and Ndaba were convicted criminals.

The sources say Ndaba was not closely associated with McBride at the time he crashed his car, for which the police chief now faces charges of driving under the influence. He also faces charges of defeating the ends of justice and fraud for allegedly trying to cover up the circumstances of the accident.

McBride is out on R1  000 bail and on paid leave until the case is completed. His next appearance is scheduled for November.

Sources allege that Ndaba promised McBride that he would ensure the charges against him were withdrawn using contacts in the police force. He has developed a much closer relationship with McBride since the accident, they say.

McBride's deputy Ash Bhoodo is said to be a long-time friend with a shady past.

The sources say he used to be a member of the Security Industry Regulatory Authority.

"In 2003 when Seta chairman Jele inquired about R20million missing from the board, an assassination attempt was made on his life," said a highly placed source in law enforcement.

"He was shot and immediately after that Bhoodo, together with his cousin Ryal Maipas, resigned from the board. He lay low and emerged in November 2005 as McBride's deputy. The surprising thing is that a day before his interview McBride sent the three suspended officers to go give Bhoodo the questions," said the source.

McBride is embroiled in a spat with three Metro police officers allegedly suspended for being involved in criminal activities. The three were perceived to be close to the chief and have been named as the sweeper crew that arrived soon after his accident and helped him cover up the affair.

Last week, the Johannesburg high court ordered McBride and five other senior Metro officers not to harass, intimidate or threaten the three suspended officers - Stanley Segathevan, Patrick Johnston and Itumeleng Koko.

McBride says he is being victimised because he was "part of one of the most successful MK units" in the 1990s.