Friday, April 8, 2011

McBride 'can be called a murderer'

April 8 2011

 Robert McBride can be called a murderer despite his being granted amnesty for the apartheid-era bomb that killed three people.
The Constitutional Court on Friday ruled that despite the Citizen newspaper's “vengeful and distasteful” series of articles, it was entitled to “protected comment”. 

In a majority judgement delivered by Justice Edwin Cameron, with five of the eight Constitutional Court judges agreeing, the Citzen was ordered to pay McBride R50 000 for defamation. 

This was because of the false claim by the newspaper that McBride was contrite. 

McBride, a former director in the foreign affairs department and former Umkhonto weSizwe operative, was granted amnesty in April 2001 for all his activities which claimed the lives of people. 

He was involved in bomb explosions in and around Durban between 1981 and 1986. 

One of the explosions was at the Wentworth electrical substation on January 9, 1986, in which Durban security branch policeman Robert Welman died. However, McBride was most known for his role in the Magoo's Bar bombing. 

Three people died and 73 other people were injured when a car bomb exploded at Magoo's Bar on June 14, 1986. 

He spent seven years in jail for his activities. He was at the time a member of the ANC's special operations unit under the command of Aboobaker Ismail, who was in charge of the special operations unit. 

Ekurhuleni metro police chief, Robert McBride involved in at least three court cases and reportedly at the centre of 18 police investigations, was sacked this week for allegedly violating a direct order when he returned to work recently while on special leave pending the outcome of his drunk driving trial. 

McBride’s career, first as political activist and later as law enforcement official, has made news headlines repeatedly, starting with his detention in 1998 by Mozambican authorities on gun running charges

Two years ago, McBride crashed his state-owned vehicle after a year-end function. He is to go on trial in Pretoria's High Court on October 16.

Michele Clarke, the Democratic Alliance spokesperson on community safety, said Ekurhuleni council's city manager, Patrick Flusk, was only allowed to pay up to R10 000 of an employee's legal costs, if the actions of the employee occurred while on duty. "Flusk was in breach of his delegated powers by spending money not approved by council. Further expenses had to be approved by council. No such item was ever raised.

"In addition, a quarterly report then had to be presented to the council if the limit was exceeded," Clarke charged.

"Despite this, more than R4,9-million has already been spent on McBride's defence, and there is another R2,69-million on the cards...

"If we should consent to an open-ended agreement to pay for his legal fees, the ratepayers of Ekurhuleni could end up paying about R10-million or more towards this man's court case."

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