Police Minister Bheki Cele has defended to a committee of Parliament why it took more than a year to find a suitable candidate as the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, (IPID). Parliament’s Police Portfolio Committee earlier today supported Cele’s nomination of Jennifer Dikaledi-Ntlatseng as the IPID head.

IPID has been without an Executive Director for nearly 17 months after the contract of the previous incumbent, Robert McBride, was not renewed. The Act governing IPID states that the position must be filled within 12 months.

Appearing before Parliament’s Police Portfolio Committee, Cele told Members of Parliament that it was not easy to find a suitable candidate.

“As we looked at the quality of people that applied, we could not find the candidate to fill the position. We had a second bite on advertising, shortlisted, interviewed, and couldn’t find a candidate.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Freedom Front Plus have condemned Parliament’s Police Portfolio Committee’s decision to support Cele.  “Whether we want to or not, we don’t have the authority to continue with the minister’s nomination. The process is fatally flawed and will be challenged,” says DA MP Andrew Whitfield.

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald shares the same sentiment. “I will not support it because the portfolio committee should determine its own criteria. I didn’t even see the person. Should it not be that candidates appear for us to question them?”