Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Murderer and Criminal - Robert McBride

My fingers have been itching for a long time now, to type some words about ‘Bomber’ Robert McBride. I’ve noticed on Saturday that his name featured prominently in the headlines and front pages of almost every newspaper in South Africa. Although it gives me great pleasure to see how this gangster’s status has finally fallen, and that it is now legally justifiable to refer to him as a Murderer and a Criminal, it is also disappointing and frustrating to see how he, like so many other communist hero’s in South Africa, have succeeded in getting away with cold-blooded murder.

On Friday, 8 April 2011, the former Ekurhuleni metro police chief was finally convicted of drunken driving – i.e. after the case dragged on for more than 4 years! The Pretoria Magistrate's Court also found him guilty on a charge of defeating the ends of justice, after it came to light, among other things, that the medical certificate, which McBride produced in his defence, and which stated that he was suffering from hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), was all a fraudulent scam. McBride's bail was extended, pending his sentencing on 15 July 2011.

More importantly…
On the same day (8 April), McBride suffered another rock-hard thump on the nose when the Constitutional Court ruled that The Citizen did not defame McBride for labelling him a murderer and criminal after he was granted amnesty for the 1986 Magoo’s Bar bombing in Durban.
Click here to view the full story in The Citizen.

McBride, like so many other villains of the apartheid era, can thank his lucky stars and the outrageous decisions of the farcical Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that he did not end up spending a lifetime in prison. Instead, the man was granted amnesty for his crimes, and since then he has been treated like a champion warrior – a conqueror of oppression. Like so many other communist freedom-fighters in this country, he progressed to celebrity status and was rewarded for his heroic efforts.

His political career saw him become a top-ranking ANC official in the Department of Foreign Affairs (1998). Even then this gangster found it hard to stay out of prison, as it was while he was working as an official in this department that he got himself arrested again, on 9 March 1998, by Mozambican police in Ressano Garcia, outside Maputo, for alleged gun-smuggling and espionage.

McBride claimed that he was working with the South African National Intelligence Agency at the time, but the agency publicly denied these claims. McBride was later released by Mozambican authorities after spending six months in a Maputo jail.

To this day no one really knows the insider details of McBride’s criminal activities in Mozambique. All we know is that a team of high-ranking South African officials visited Mozambique to ‘discuss’ the matter. The team comprised of Sydney Mufamadi, Minister of Safety and Security, Billy Masetla, Director-General of the South African Secret Services, Welile Nhlapo, South Africa's ambassador to the Organisation of African Unity, George Fivaz, South African National Police Commissioner and Suiker Britz, National Special Investigation Unit Head Commissioner. Source:

It is no wonder that in 2003, when he was appointed as Chief of the Metropolitan Police of Ekurhuleni Municipality (Johannesburg East Rand), it caused quite a consternation among opposition parties which claimed that he was unfit for the job. By then the opposition were becoming quite agitated with the ANC’s tendency to appoint criminals in top posts.

It is possibly for this reason why the press remained silent in 2006 when McBride received the Merit Medal in Silver and the Conspicuous Leadership Star from the South African National Defence Force, for his service and combat leadership in uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

There are many liberal articles, online and in print, that have tried to glorify McBride and thereby justify his past criminal actions. Obviously most of these publications base their views on McBride’s own pompous attitude of himself and also on what was said at the TRC hearings, but many publications, like this one for example, also highlight McBride’s disadvantaged and turbulent childhood years, and also the fact that he was a mixed-race (Coloured) individual, – as if these attributes were an excuse for his unlawful and barbaric acts of violence, and the cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians – black and white!

Incidentally, the three people whom McBride so cold-bloodedly murdered, on 14 June 1986,  in the Magoo's bar bomb blast, were all innocent white civilian woman. Their names are Angelique Pattenden, Julie van der Linde and Marchelle Gerand – Source. The names of the 71 injured victims of the Magoo’s bar incident, as well as details of other crimes committed, can be found here on See also the additional details further down in this posting.

Through the period September 1985 to approximately April 1994, McBride was involved in various incidents related to the contravention of:
  • (i) the Arms and Ammunition Act no. 75 of 1969,
  • (ii) Explosives Act no. 26 of 1986, and
  • (iii) the Terrorism Act.

For the record, I will provide a very brief summary below of the crimes for which McBride was granted amnesty by the TRC:

McBride and his cronies decided to burn down his former school namely, Fairvale Senior Secondary School, because he believed the education provided there was of inferior quality. McBride poured petrol onto the building and set it alight.

6 JANUARY 1986
McBride was an accomplice to an attempted sabotage on the sub-station at Cato Manor. The operation was aborted when they activated an alarm while cutting a hole into the fence to facilitate entry.

9 JANUARY 1986
McBride was an accomplice to the bombing of the Chamberlain Road sub-station in Jacobs, Durban. The blast killed one person and wounded four others. The blast was committed on that specific day to highlight the annual ANC statement delivered the previous day.

18 JANUARY 1986
McBride and his partner in crime, the ANC activist Gordon Webster (aka Mark Mkhize), blew up the Huntley Hill substation, in Westville, Durban. No one was killed or injured.

20 JANUARY 1986
Similarly, as in the cases of the explosions at the Cato Manor and Huntley Hill incidents, Webster and McBride planted limpet mines, which caused damage at a pylon in Carrington Heights in Rossburgh, Durban. It is not known if anyone was injured or killed as a result of the explosions.

As part-and-parcel of the ANC’s terrorist activities… to commit economic sabotage in South Africa and demonstrate MK military power, McBride blew up a water pipe near Pietermaritzburg, believing that it was a major pipeline for oil. No injuries or deaths were reported.

21 MARCH 1986
McBride blew up another sub-station near Chamberlain Road in Jacobs, Durban, using four land mines, strategically placed at the sub-station.

8 APRIL 1986
McBride and his accomplices launched a hand-grenade attack on the home of Mr Leaf, a school principle and also senior member of the Labour Party. Neither of the grenades were thrown accurately enough to penetrate through the glass panes. Consequently, all the grenades hit the outside walls of the house, resulting in zero injuries or deaths.

1 MAY 1986
McBride supplied a hand-grenade to two collaborators, who were planning on attacking the home of an- individual known as Mr Peter Klein. The collaborators received instructions from McBride on how to detonate and throw the hand-grenade. Both Mr and Mrs Klein were injured as a result of the attack.

4 MAY 1986
McBride, assisted Gordon Webster to escape from police custody at the Edenvale Hospital, in Pietermaritzburg. Webster was arrested by the South African Police during the latter part of April 1986. Shots fired by McBride during the escape killed a black man, Mlungize Buthelezi, and injured two others namely, Simpiwe Shage and Nkosinathi Nkabini.

23 MAY 1986
McBride planted a false bomb at the Pine street parkade in Durban, to make a political statement at a time when a group of foreigners were visiting South Africa. The foreigners came to be referred to as the "EMINENT PERSONS GROUP". Their aim was to broker a settlement in South Africa. No injuries, death or damages resulted from this incident.

As commander of the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) cell in Durban, McBride was apparently instructed to execute the bombing on 14 June 1986, in remembrance of the Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976.

McBride set up the plan, assisted by two accomplices. A vehicle containing 60 kg’s  of explosives was parked in close proximity to the Magoos bar - a civilian establishment situated on Durban’s crowded beachfront. McBride, who believed that the bar was often frequented by security policemen, enabled the bomb and set the attached timing device, which detonated the explosives as planned, killing three innocent civilians and wounding 71 others. Eye witnesses to the incident later described the aftermath of the bombing as “a bloodbath.” – Source:

McBride was convicted of the Magoo’s bar bombing, and sentenced to death. However, lady luck was on his side as the South African government had declared a moratorium on capital punishment in 1990. Then suddenly another man, on the other end of the political spectrum, appeared on the scene -- namely, Barend Strydom (aka Wit Wolf) who was convicted of eight counts of murder, and who was also sentenced to death. Both men, together with 150 other political prisoners, were eventually released from jail after a deal between FW de Klerk’s National Party government and the ANC in 1992.  The TRC subsequently granted both men amnesty for their crimes. --- See also: McBride’s Irish-Boer Connection below.

  1. A Mobil Oil pipeline at Umlaas was blown up by two limpet mines, causing an estimated damage of one million rand.
  2. A tanker carrying corrosive chemicals, and situated in the centre of Durban’s industrial area, was blown up by limpet mines.
  3. McBride, together with an accomplice, drove to South Street, Durban, with intentions of blowing up a police vehicle. The plans changed when they suspected that the police had seen them, and the limpet mine ended up in a trash can outside an establishment known at the time as the "Copper Shop". The mine later exploded causing damage to the building.
29 JUNE 1986
McBride was involved in the bombing of water pipe lines which routed water to the industrial area of New Germany outside Durban, causing extensive damage to the water supply to the area.

McBride’s Irish-Boer Connection

There are rumours floating about that it was McBride’s connection to Irish Republican Major John MacBride, who had taken part during the Second Boer War on the Boer’s side, that possibly played a role in saving his butt. This may well not be a rumour at all, but the cold hard facts, because it appears, according to this source, that his supposed link with the Irish subsequently determined the course of his political career. A number of trips undertaken to Ireland prior to his move to the Department of Foreign Affairs heightened his passion for international relations. - See also the article: Leading ANC figure attends opening Dáil session.

Major John Macbride

The Irishman John MacBride (sometimes mistranscribed as McBride) raised the Irish Transvaal Brigade (aka MacBride's Brigade) during the Second Boer War. He was given Boer citizenship and commissioned with the rank of major in the Boer army. After the war he travelled to Paris. In 1903, he married the Irish nationalist Maud Gonne, whom he had met in 1900 and through whom he had met W. B. Yeats. The following year their son Sean MacBride was born. After the marriage failed amid accusations of domestic violence (including molestation of his stepdaughter, Iseult Gonne, at age 11, he returned to Dublin. Gonne separated from MacBride, but never remarried. - Source

Macbride was eventually executed for participation in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Yeats, who had hated MacBride during his life largely because of Yeats' unrequited love for Maud Gonne and who had heard negative reports of MacBride's treatment of Gonne in their marriage, gave him the following ambivalent eulogy in his poem "Easter, 1916"

This poem could well have been written for Robert McBride! 
It is also ironic that it is almost Easter, is it not?

Easter, 1916

"This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vain-glorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born."

..... W. B. Yeats

Sources Consulted:

Suggested further reading:
(All publications authored by Dr Anthea Jeffery)
Dr Anthea Jeffery holds law degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand and from Cambridge, and a doctorate in human rights law from the University of London. 


Mike Smith said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Excellent article!

Macaw said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

I have to agree with Mike. Stunning piece of writing. This Mocambique issue goes much deeper than what it appears. Is it at all possible he was in collaboration with the Freds (Frelimo). Who knows what else this bastard did.

Ten to 1 he will escape jail, dissapear for a while and after a few years (maybe less), crawl out of the woodwork again...

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@ Mike and Macaw,

Thanks for the kind words. It’s good to know there are people out there who appreciate my efforts.

boerbychoice said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Awesome article, pity that backing every bit of the article up with facts and sources, will still not be enough to convince the leftist squints amongst us.

But i'll say it again - really magnificant article!

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@ boerbychoice, - thank you!

The ‘leftist squints’ seldom attack recent articles on this blog. They usually wait a few months and then spew their poison on older postings. Their attacks usually come in droves, which sometimes forces me to block all comments on older postings.

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

McBride should not have gotten amnesty according to you?

Then what's up with people like Theunis Swanepoel the torturer and child murderer of Soweto or Dirk Coetzee the apartheid assassin (eventhough he helped to uncover the gross criminal nature of apartheid's "security forces").

In what way should we as a society have dealt with "security policeman" Paul van Vuuren, who savagely electrocuted opponent political activists during apartheid, a story so horrific that it's hard to imagine any human being acting so gruesomely and sadistic against another human.

How should we deal with South Africa's very own Dr Mengele, Wouter Basson, who worked on weapons of mass destruction to kill Africans only. (by the way: Can we really be sure that the prominence of HIV in South Africa has nothing to do with Wouter Basson's "research" in Project Coast?)

Persecuting McBride is hypocritical, when at the same time you people defend, justify or simply ignore the horrific atrocities commited by "your side".

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