Cheryl Kahla
Deputy Online News Editor
2 minute read
9 Jul 2021
6:13 am

Robert McBride suspension: New drama around SSA foreign branch head

Cheryl Kahla

Robert McBride was appointed as SSA foreign director in July 2020

Robert McBride, former head of Ipid, at the Zondo Commission of inquiry in Parktown Johannesburg. Picture by Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Felix Dlangamandla

The State Security Agency (SSA) on Thursday confirmed Robert McBride, the head of the foreign branch of the agency, has been suspended but refused to provide a reason for the suspension.

Possible reason for suspension

City Press on Sunday reported that four South African spies were caught in Mozambique. The four had their passports confiscated and couldn’t return to South Africa. However, state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo intervened and the four were safely returned.

The Mozambique mission was sanctioned by McBride which allegedly caught Dlodlo – and President Cyril Ramaphosa – off-guard.

McBride was appointed as SSA foreign director in July 2020, for a period of three years commencing until 30 June 2023, with Dlodlo at the time saying he would bring stability while rebuilding the agency.

“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”.

– State security minister Ayanda Dlodlo, 2020

SSA spokesperson Mava Scott on Thursday confirmed McBride’s suspension to Timeslive, saying the SSA is not in a position to discuss further details in line with the confidentiality requirement between employer and employee relations”.

McBride at State Capture

McBride, the former head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), would have taken to the State Capture stand back in June to be questioned by advocate Anthony Mosing, advocate Sello Maema and advocate Andrew Chauke.

However, advocate Tebogo Mathibedi on Youth Day claimed McBride and Booysen had “peddled lies” against his clients, and asked that their statements be read out to the commission instead.

“The accusers themselves were prosecuted in a number of matters […] so they were deflecting from their illegal conduct. We also request that it appear in the report at the end of the day. That will at least, to a certain extent, make up for the indignity […] that our clients suffered as a result of the malicious and unfounded allegations.”

NOW READ: State Capture Inquiry: Gigaba to testify, McBride won’t be cross-examined