Former Ipid boss Robert McBride to head State Security Agency foreign branch

Former Ipid head Robert McBride has been appointed head of the State Security Agency's foreign branch.
Former Ipid head Robert McBride has been appointed head of the State Security Agency's foreign branch.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Alet Pretorius

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a new head of the State Security Agency foreign branch — former Independent Police Investigative Directorate boss Robert McBride.

The agency announced the appointment on Thursday, with security minister Ayanda Dlodlo welcoming the move.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa approved the appointment of Mr Robert McBride as the director for the foreign branch of the State Security Agency,” it said in a statement.

“The president approved the appointment in terms of section 8(1) of the Intelligence Services Act, 65 of 2002. Mr McBride has been appointed for three years from July 1 2020 to June 30 2023.”

Dlodlo expressed confidence in his appointment, noting his wealth of experience which ranged from the metro police to heading the police watchdog unit.

“The work to implement the recommendations of the high level panel on the State Security Agency is proceeding steadily and this appointment is one of the critical steps towards the journey to rebuild the agency,” said Dlodlo.

McBride, who served as the chief of the metropolitan police for Ekurhuleni and later executive director of Ipid, is no stranger to controversy.

His 2014 appointment to head Ipid by police minister Nathi Mthethwa was met with some resistance as McBride was known to have been part of the 1986 Umkhonto we Sizwe group that bombed the Magoos restaurant in Durban where three people were killed and 69 injured.

McBride made headlines in 2017 when a teenager accused him of assault and he ended up behind bars.

He later said he had “admonished” the teen as he was concerned about her “rebellious” behaviour and academic performance.

In an interview with Sunday Times, the girl claimed McBride had throttled her, punched her in the face and threatened to kill her.  

In February 2018, McBride appeared in the Pretoria magistrate's court on charges of child abuse and assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The case was eventually withdrawn.

In  January 16, police minister Bheki Cele informed McBride that due to his term as Ipid's head coming to an end, he would not be renewing or extending his contract.

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