Parliament is moving to change the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Act to curb the powers of the police minister to suspend or remove the head of the police watchdog. In 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled that the police minister had no authority to dismiss the Ipid head without Parliament instituting the necessary processes. This was after former police minister Nathi Nhleko moved to suspend Ipid executive director Robert McBride. McBride returned to the helm of Ipid in 2016, after a bitter turf war with Nhleko and former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. The Constitutional Court said in its ruling that Ipid was an independent body established in terms of the Constitution. It noted that section 4(1) of the Ipid act required it to function independently of the South African Police Service (SAPS). "Given the nature, scope and importance of the role played by police in preventing, combating and investigating crime, Ipid’s oversight role is of...

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