The State Security Agency (SSA) has confirmed the suspension of its foreign branch Head Robert McBride on Thursday 9 June, with the agency saying that they are unable to provide further details about what led to the decision at this stage.

McBride – who is the former head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) was appointed as the director of the Foreign Branch of the State Security Agency less than a year ago, with the SSA saying at the time that his appointment promised to bring stability to the embattled agency.

SSA suspend Robert McBride

TimesLIVE reported on Thursday that McBride’s suspension had been confirmed by SSA spokesperson Mava Scott, who offered them little in the way of an explanation for the decision.

“Yes we can confirm that Mr McBride has been suspended but are not in a position to discuss further details in line with the confidentiality requirement between employer and employee relations,” he said.

The South African has reached out to the SSA for independent comment and will provide further information when it is forthcoming.

City Press reported last week that McBride and three other South African spies were “caught and left stranded for nine days in Maputo in Mozambique following a failed State Security Agency (SSA) operation targeting insurgents in Cabo Delgado” during widely reported terrorist attacks in the country earlier this year.

Not his first suspension

McBride’s contract as Ipid’s Executive Director came to an end in February 2019 after his contract was not renewed. He was appointed in February 2014, however in March 2015, then Police Minister Nathi Nhleko suspended him from the post, which led to a legal stand off between the two.

The Constitutional Court subsequently set aside Nhleko’s decision to suspend McBride, who was then allowed to return to his post.

This is a developing story.

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Presh JM Reporter

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