Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) head Robert McBride, who has been accused of assaulting his daughter, should “do the right thing” and request to be placed on special leave pending the outcome of the charges against him, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Wednesday.
McBride was granted R10 000 bail in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. He is charged with child abuse and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
In a statement, DA spokesperson on police Zakhele Mbhele said while McBride is innocent until proven guilty, he should recuse himself given the seriousness of the charges that he is facing.
“McBride [should] recuse himself … so that attention does not continue to be diverted from the Police’s critical responsibility of bringing down the high crime rate in the country,” Mbhele said.
“It is abundantly clear that the Police service has been compromised by years of political interference and political infighting for too long.”
On Saturday, McBride denied the allegations of assault against him and said he was merely reprimanding his daughter.
In a statement, he explained that he had become concerned about his daughter's school marks and "somewhat rebellious" behaviour, and had admonished her, but never assaulted her.
"My daughter was seated directly behind me in the car, it would have been impossible for me to drive and 'assault' and 'throttle' her at the same time," he said.
"I deny that I assaulted her and that she had any injuries when I left her at home. I have already indicated to the police that I will co-operate fully with the investigation."
In an interview with EWN on Monday, McBride’s teenage daughter dismissed reports that the assault claims against her father were part of a smear campaign targeting the IPID head.
"This stems from him hitting me on Sunday, it has nothing to do with his work. I’m not concerned about his reputation or his line of work," the teenager said.
IPID previously claimed the assault case is likely part of a bigger plot to discredit McBride because of the work he had been doing fighting corruption.
The police watchdog has been investigating several cases against senior police officials, including former Hawks head Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza and former acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane.
At the height of IPID's investigation into the two men towards the end of 2016, the Hawks planned to charge McBride for a number of different cases. In one affidavit seen by News24, a businessman states that a lieutenant-colonel had told him the Hawks wanted to open a firearms and murder case against McBride.
The Hawks wanted the man to be a witness in the case.
McBride is expected back in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on October 2.