Robert McBride (left). Picture: GALLO IMAGES/THEANA BREUGEM
Robert McBride (left). Picture: GALLO IMAGES/THEANA BREUGEM

THE chief director of investigations at the embattled Independent Complaints Investigative directorate (Ipid), Matthews Sesoko, has been dismissed after a disciplinary process that his lawyer describes as a "sham".

Sesoko was one of three senior Ipid officials who, along with head Robert McBride, were suspended following allegations that they had doctored an Ipid report on the alleged unlawful rendition of seven Zimbabweans — in order to exonerate former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and former Gauteng Hawks chief Shadrack Sibiya.

The rendition allegations have led to the Hawks and Ipid haemorrhaging senior staff, who now claim that the allegations are only a pretext, and that they are being persecuted for their role in investigations into high-level corruption.

Ipid’s acting spokesman, Robbie Raburabu, confirmed Sesoko’s dismissal, saying that the sanction was recommended by the chairman of the internal disciplinary inquiry, advocate Mxolisi Zondo.

The dismissal was then approved by acting Ipid head Israel Kgamanyane on Wednesday, Raburabu said.

But Sesoko’s attorney, Thabang Mathibe, said the disciplinary process was flawed.

Sesoko had been ill at the time and had not been present when Zondo made his ruling, Mathibe said.

Zondo had refused to accept Sesoko’s medical certificate, saying the doctor who had diagnosed him had not been qualified to make the diagnosis, he said.

Zondo had also cut the disciplinary process short and made a ruling before Sesoko’s team had been able to complete its cross-examination of Ipid’s witness and before calling Sesoko and witnesses on his behalf, Mathibe said.

There "was no other way" but to challenge the ruling, "because this is an injustice; the whole thing is a sham".

Zondo had also presided over Sibiya’s internal disciplinary hearing and had found Sibiya guilty of gross misconduct for his alleged role in the renditions, Mathibe said.

His team had previously asked for Zondo’s recusal because the underlying facts in Sibiya’s case were the same as in Sesoko’s, Mathibe said.

Sesoko’s team was concerned that Zondo had already pre-judged the facts, thereby putting Sesoko on the backfoot. This too was declined, he said.

Speaking to Business Day, Zondo said that the rules governing the advocates’ profession precluded him from talking about matters in which he was involved.

However, the disciplinary process had been recorded and "the transcript will speak for itself", he said.

If Sesoko was unhappy with the ruling, legal avenues were open to him to challenge it, Zondo said.

Meanwhile, Sibiya is also challenging the outcome of his disciplinary inquiry, saying it was unfair.

An arbitration hearing before the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council was scheduled to begin on Thursday. However, it was unclear whether it would proceed or whether the matter would instead be referred to the Labour Court.

The council has the equivalent status of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.