Saturday, September 10, 2011


Sunday Times Online JULY 12 — 07/12/2007
If anyone of you co-operates with the police or gives any statements which directly incriminate me in any criminal activities I will rape your wives before I kill them, kill your children, and thereafter kill everything that moves at your homes, including your cats and dogs’.

A South African court was told this week that the police chief of Ekhuruleni Metro (East Witwatersrand), Robert McBride, made this threat to police officers who were investigating allegations that he rolled his car while under the influence of liquor.

Judge Moroa Tsoka ordered McBride to stop threatening, harassing and intimidating three senior colleagues who allegedly gave damning evidence against him. Judge Tsoka granted a temporary interdict against McBride. Chief Superintendent Stanley Sagathevan, Chief Superintendent Patrick Johnson and Superintendent Itumeleng Koko had applied for the order after claiming they had been harassed.

Police chief was anti-apartheid bomber

McBride, 44, was an African National Congress activist convicted of the 1986 bombing of Magoo's Bar in Durban, which killed 3 and injured 69. He is currently Chief of the Metropolitan Police for Ekhuruleni. There is speculation that he may take over as the country’s National Police Commissioner, replacing Jackie Selebi, who has been involved in alleged corruption.
In 1984, during the apartheid years, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the ANC's military wing, attempted to sabotage the oil refinery near McBride’s home.

McBride was soon recruited into the ANC and became an active member. On April 26, 1986, he carried out a daring act and freed a wounded MK commander in a shootout with the police at Edendale Hospital.

He commanded the ANC cell responsible for the June 14, 1986, car-bombing of the "Why Not" Bar and Magoo's Bar in Durban. The bar was often frequented by police officers. The bombing turned McBride into an heroic figure among many ANC activists. Later, McBride was captured and convicted for the Durban bombing, but reprieved while on death row. In 1992, he was released, and later granted amnesty at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (which provided for amnesty in return for disclosure of acts of politically-motivated violence).

“Cut out their lying tongues”

Chief Superintendent Sagathevan described in court papers how McBride told them: ‘‘The only way to deal with traitors was to cut out their lying tongues, but this was too good for us and that our families would be dealt with first so that we could see first-hand the wrongs of our ways”.

This was after they refused to corroborate McBride’s version of the car accident in which he was involved. Chief Superintendent Johnson and Sagathevan have apparently testified against McBride in the investigation into the December accident. They and Superintendent Koko reportedly at first removed the police chief from the accident scene.

McBride able to carry out threats

In court this week, the police officers recounted the threats (above) allegedly made by McBride. Advocate MarnĂ© Strydom, representing the applicants, said: “They [McBride and 13 other respondents] have the resources to make good on these threats.” Sagathevan described a meeting between McBride and the trio, at which the police chief allegedly said he would have no hesitation in killing them. Sagathevan said: “I anticipated, and I have no doubt that the first respondent [McBride] would assault me if he managed to get his hands on me, as I have on many occasions ... observed him assault suspects, bystanders and even fellow Ekhuruleni Metro Police department officers.”
Sagathevan said he was ‘redeployed’ in May. “I immediately considered my redeployment to be highly questionable in that I was deliberately being placed in a dangerous and volatile situation in that I was instructed to report to officers whom I have, on the first respondent’s instructions, investigated in the past.”

Sagathevan said McBride and the deputy chief of police security and loss control in Ekhuruleni, Ash Boodhoo, threatened to “silence” him and his two colleagues and make their lives a “living hell” if they gave statements that contradicted McBride’s version. Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC, acting for McBride, said the metro police officers were being selective with facts and were trying to prevent his client from putting his version forward.

As a schoolboy, McBride was beaten by a much older boy and his father taught him martial arts. When he was 13, he was arrested for questioning by the police regarding the beating of a youth. He developed political views at an early age. He was particularly influenced by two books: one described the efforts of coloured (mixed race) political activists, and the other was written by a founding member of the American Black Guerrilla Family.

Arrested in Mozambique

On March 9, 1998, (Four years after the ANC had taken over the government of the country), McBride, then a high-ranking official in the Department of Foreign Affairs, was arrested by the Mozambican police in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique, for allegedly smuggling weapons from Mozambique to South Africa. He maintained he was working with the South African National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and was later released by the Mozambican authorities. McBride was appointed Chief of the Metropolitan (metro) Police for Chief of Ekhuruleni Municipality in 2003. He defended the ANC's new gun laws in 2006 in a one-hour gun-politics documentary, “Live Fire”, commissioned by Gun Owners of South Africa.

On December 21, 2006, McBride rolled his vehicle at high speed on the R511 near Pretoria while returning from a metro police year-end function. According to witnesses, McBride was under the influence of alcohol, but metro police on the scene assaulted the witnesses and threatened to shoot them if they telephoned the South African Police (SAP). McBride was quickly removed from the scene by Ekhuruleni metro police, even though the scene was more than 40 km out of their jurisdiction. It is not known whether he received medical treatment on the night of the incident, and whether blood samples were taken by the metro police, or a medical facility, to determine his blood-alcohol level.

Investigators gave "damning evidence"

Following the accident, three of the metro police involved in removing McBride from the accident scene (Johnston, Segathevan and Koko) gave "damning statements" to the South African Police. On July 4, 2007, McBride and about 10 cars with metro police detained Johnston at a petrol station, on the pretext that he was driving a car with tinted windows, which is against South African traffic law. Segathewan joined Johnston, and members of a nearby SAPS Task Force arrived at the scene.

McBride is alleged to have instructed his metro police officers "to shoot all the SAPS members (including members of the Task Force) in the head if they touched their firearms". He is also alleged to have called senior police officers present at the scene "baboons and pieces of shit". McBride later justified his instructions to shoot police officers by saying they were senior to his officers, and were being "stroppy". Johnston and Segathevan were arrested by the metro police, but Henk Strydom, a senior public prosecutor, declined to prosecute due to "insufficient evidence and a case totally without merit". Johnston and Segathevan then decided to seek a court interdict to protect them from McBride and the Ekhuruleni Metro Police Department, as they feared for their lives.
May 14, 1996 — Sapa


The investigation into the bombing of Magoo's Bar in Durban in 1986 will be reopened to obtain information about those who authorised the bomb attack, KwaZulu-Natal Attorney-General Tim McNally said on Tuesday.

The man convicted of planting the bomb, African National Congress member and Department of Foreign Affairs deputy director Robert McBride, would be approached for the information, McNally told reporters outside the Durban Supreme Court.

McBride served a jail term following his conviction and can no longer be charged in connection with the bombing, but investigators are interested in McBride's recent comments implicating unidentified ANC leaders in planning the attack.

McBride said last week he had planted the Magoo's bomb under the instruction of his political superiors.

Three people were killed and dozens injured in the blast.

McBride was sentenced to death three times for his part in the attack. His death sentence was later commuted to one of imprisonment, and after serving a number of years behind bars McBride was given a remission of sentence in 1992.
He recently gave up his seat in the Gauteng legislature to take up a post as deputy director in the Department of Foreign Affairs' Far East and Asian directorate.

"McBride is going to be approached. He's got a duty like any other member of the community to give evidence to police," McNally said.

McNally's comments follow renewed focus on the Magoo's bombing at last week's Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in Durban.

The body heard graphic descriptions of the aftermath of the bomb. Witnesses also expressed outrage that McBride had never shown remorse for murdering innocent people.

Testifying on the second day of the hearing, bar manager Helen Kearney said "all hell broke let loose shortly after 10pm, June 14 1986, when a normal Saturday night for regulars at Magoo's Bar came to an abrupt end.

"I remember flashing red, blue and green lights. There was a horrendous noise. Everything happened so fast. It was a massive bloodbath".

She said McBride should be removed from his government post.

"We don't wish him any harm. We just feel this post is wrong. He feels no remorse and has no conscience. I don't think he has ever spoken to one of the survivors," Kearney said.

McBride last week denied that he had never shown remorse for planting the bomb.

© South African Press Association, 1996

Magoo's Bombing

This story examines the issue of whether human rights abuses are ever justified in the name of a greater goal.

In 1986, the South African army began conducting cross- border raids, bombing African National Congress (ANC) strongholds in neighboring countries and often killing civilians in the process.Robert McBride

In response, ANC member Robert McBride planned and participated in the carbombing of Magoo's Bar, a popular hangout for the South African Security Police forces in Durban.

Three white women pedestrians were killed when the bomb exploded, and many bar patrons were wounded. In an era when bombings were commonplace, McBride was regarded as a particularly notorious criminal.

Dubbed "Bomber McBride" by the press, he became the focus of pro-apartheid hatred because of the unusual circumstances of the bombing: the victims were white, and McBride himself was coloured, making his choice to violently side with the principally black anti-apartheid movement all the more horrifying to many white South Africans.Sharon: Mcbride amnesty opposition

McBride and a companion were convicted of the bombing, and McBride was sentenced to execution. A pardon negotiated by Nelson Mandela saved McBride from death row. McBride then became a diplomat in the new South African government. He has applied for amnesty from the TRC, but stands by the bombing, saying that if he was in the same situation, he would do it again.

The families of the victims are vehemently opposing his application. A charismatic, eloquent speaker, McBride explained the rationale for his actions at the hearing, which took place in the fall of 1999. This story documents the drama of his testimony and witnesses how the victims' families were affected by his justification for the bombing. McBride at Amnesty Hearing

From death row to SA police chief

4 December, 2003

Former convicted bomber Robert McBride has defended his appointment to the post of Chief of Police in Johannesburg's East Rand district despite criticism from the opposition Democratic Alliance.

Mr McBride - who was sentenced to death for his part in the bombing of Magoo's Bar in 1984, which killed three people and wounded 69 others - was appointed at the end of October.

The move has brought condemnation from the opposition Democratic Alliance, who said they were "shocked and disgusted".

But in an interview with BBC World Service's Outlook programme, Mr McBride said that the opposition was primarily the result of party politicking.

"The timing of the appointment perhaps was unfortunate, because it's 3-4 months away from an election," he said.

"Political parties will create issues which they can then rally their supporters around."

Mr McBride was one of the most famous of the African National Congress saboteurs, operating underground, and was a hero to many other black people during apartheid.

He argued that his background gave him the skills to tackle the problems in one of the most crime-ridden cities in South Africa.

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Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela has backed McBride's appointment
"My background is one of liberation struggle," he said.
"The area I'm appointed in is one of the hardest hit by the surrogate forces of apartheid.

"So it's the people who really know my work, who I've defended and physically put my life on the line for - they know my work.

"People have welcomed me specifically because of my background."

Mr McBride was released from death row after being granted amnesty in 1992.

He went on to become a senior official in Department of Foreign Affairs - and he said that there was never a "squeak" from the opposition over his being in that post.

"There's a bit of hypocrisy on the side of my detractors," Mr McBride said.

"These are the same people who want to embrace former President Nelson Mandela.

"Incidentally, Nelson Mandela congratulated me on my appointment.

"Another aspect is that they seem to selectively forget that Nelson Mandela was the Chief of Staff and the leader of our liberation army."


Mr McBride rejected the suggestion that his appointment was inappropriate as he was so linked to the Magoo's Bar bombing.

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McBride blames the row on politics in Johannesburg
"They wish to tie me to one single event, but we actually ran a campaign and the only reason why they tie me to this event is because white people died.

"There are other people who have committed a lot of acts in South Africa.

"Our first commissioner of police in South Africa was a person from the old order. I didn't hear anybody making a noise about that."

He added that he did feel remorse for the victims of the bomb, but that it was as part of his regret for much of South Africa's past.

"I cannot feel the remorse in isolation to the remorse I feel and the sadness I feel for all the other people that have died during our period of conflict," he stated.

"So I cannot only feel sadness or remorse for one aspect of our unfortunate past... we've renounced violence, all of us, that's why we've moved towards democracy.

"We had a democratic election and our transition was constitutional.
"Why we went for violence initially was because they refused to accept that we are human beings."

R12m in McBride legal fees

09 September, 2011

Ekurhuleni must be reimbursed the R12 million used to pay for the metro's former police chief Robert McBride's legal fees, the DA said on Friday.

"These expenses were in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the Municipal Systems Act and council's own policy, which stipulates that council may only pay up to R10 000 of an employee's legal costs, if the case is of relevance to the municipality," said the Democratic Alliance's Ekurhuleni councillor Michele Clarke.

The DA would hold the ANC, all councillors involved and former city manager Patrick Flusk accountable for the money.

"These were the people that were directly responsible for the Ekurhuleni metro paying for McBride's' legal costs, and they should answer for their decisions."

The DA wanted the ANC to table a report to the council showing how the money would be reimbursed.

"We also want an item tabled indicating when and how the municipality will take legal action in accordance with the advice obtained from the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society."

She said the society had advised Ekurhuleni to take legal action against McBride's attorneys, as their fees had been inflated.

Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesman Zweli Dlamini said the city would only follow up on the reimbursement of the legal fees after the outcome of McBride's appeal.

"It would be premature to demand to be reimbursed now when [McBride] said he would appeal the sentence."

The council took a resolution that should McBride lose the case, the city would recover all the legal fees, said Dlamini.

The Pretoria Magistrate's Court sentenced McBride to five years imprisonment on Thursday. He got two years for driving under the influence of alcohol and five years for defeating the ends of justice, of which two years were suspended for five years.