Last updateDim, 25 Jan 2015 7pm

Controversy over police watchdog top job for apartheid-era bomber

Cape Town, South Africa - The imminent appointment of former police chief Robert McBride as head of South Africa's national police watchdog body has sparked deep divisions in the country. The official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has warned it will take the matter to court if President Jacob Zuma approves the appointment.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard Thursday said the “bizarre nomination” was yet another indication that South Africa’s ruling African National Congress was not serious about fighting corruption and crime.

The Parliament's Police Committee has endorsed his appointment as head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

McBride, the former Umkhonto weSizwe bomber, first made headlines for the bombing a popular restaurant in Durban in the 1980s which left four patrons dead.

He was subsequently sentenced to death, but was pardoned and released from prison following the liberation of South Africa in the early 1990s.

Since then, he has been linked to numerous scandals. In 1998, he was arrested by the Mozambican police on charges of gun running.

In 1999, while in the company of underworld bosses at an escort agency, McBride was accused of assault and in 2011, he was convicted of drunk driving and attempting to obstruct justice.

He was sentenced to five years imprisonment but he won an appeal against the conviction.

Pana 30/01/2014