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MPs slam ‘threatening’ email sent by Paul O’Sullivan in McBride matter

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police received a letter from private investigator Paul O'Sullivan that it perceived as a threat to influence its outcome in the matter of Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) head Robert McBride.

Before the committee on Thursday morning started its work to finalise its report on the renewal of McBride’s contract, which expires on Thursday, committee chairperson Francois Beukman said he had to raise a matter of “huge concern”.

He said, while they welcome input from everybody, some documents and WhatsApp messages that had members received in the last 72 hours were unacceptable.

“Members can’t be put under pressure by lobby groups and individuals,” said Beukman. “We’re not a banana public.”

ANC whip in the committee Jerome Maake then read the email Beukman received from O’Sullivan, wherein he accused the committee of being “guided by criminals like Cele”.

He said his organisation, Forensics for Justice, would conduct investigations into all the committee’s members, which would be published on their website, “without fear or favour”.

“Your members should know they are not above the law,” O’Sullivan wrote.

He also asked Beukman to provide him with the committee members’ names and identity numbers.

ANC MP Leonard Ramatlakane said: “It is a letter that threatens Parliament, that intimidates, that seeks to dictate what Parliament should do or should say.”

“It is undermining the Constitution by an individual who seeks to direct members who have been elected to serve.”

He said it was a “serious overstep” by O’Sullivan.

‘Third force out there’

Ramatlakane added that the matter should be taken to the police and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority.

NFP MP Munzoor Shaik-Emam condemned the letter, but said he was not intimidated.

“There is a third force out there trying to destabilise the transformation of South Africa,” Shaik-Emam claimed.

He said the matter should also be brought to the attention of the Speaker.

Beukman said he would also raise the matter with Parliament’s legal services.

The DA’s MPs on the committee, Zakhele Mbhele and Dianne Kohler Barnard, were not present, as they were attending their party’s caucus meeting.

The meeting continued, with the committee members going through the report page by page.

The committee will announce on Thursday whether McBride’s contract will be renewed. DM

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