Campaign calls for Jeremy Vearey to be reinstated, plans to protest at police stations
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Cape Town - A campaign to highlight corruption and the breakdown of leadership within the police force, with a specific focus on the dismissal of former head of detectives Jeremy Vearey, has been started by Cape Flats communities, with a plan to march to police stations and Parliament tomorrow.
The campaign, with the hashtag #JusticeForJeremy, has gained momentum on social media across the country. More than 1 400 people joined the group on Facebook, and some of the organisers are planning to demonstrate outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday.
One of the organisers, Reverend Michael Weeder, dean of St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, said “the constitutional integrity of the republic has over time been sullied by men and women who trampled on our rights”.
Weeder said the police stand accused and judged by the laws they were meant to uphold, and they were contemptuous of the very people they should serve and protect.
“Over the past decade, we have witnessed orchestrated attacks on dedicated police men and women of integrity, including those on station command and the most recent example of which has been the dismissal of Major-General Vearey,” said Weeder.
Community activist and member of the campaign Lynn Abrahams said unlike those who wanted to weaken the campaign by claiming that the campaign has a racist posture, her view was that the campaign was about much more than fighting for Vearey’s reinstatement.
Abrahams said Vearey and others were victims of a corrupt and broken police system, and the alleged brokenness and corruption affected communities.
She said recently they have witnessed mass killings in Khayelitsha and Delft and similarly witnessed the continued gang violence and violent crime related issues across the Cape Flats and in South Africa.
“This campaign is about fixing the broken SAPS and defending all good and hard-working police men and women from corrupt elements within. Major-General Vearey and others, like ourselves, are victims of this broken system and therefore we say, ‘Genoeg is genoeg (Enough is enough)’,” she said.
According to a leaked police report signed by provincial Head of Crime Intelligence Mzwandile Tiyo, information has come to light of a social media campaign to mobilise and rally support for Vearey, Anti-Gang Unit head André Lincoln and Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs.
In the document, Tiyo said claims of possible pickets were made, and the Mitchells Plain Community Policing Forum (CPF) supported the campaign.
“It is recommended that SAPS increase visibility during the planned pickets to prevent any form of disruption,” said Tiyo.
When the Cape Argus contacted the police to verify the legitimacy of the report, police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said the document was not meant for public consumption and as such they would not engage with the media on its contents.
Whistle-blower and community activist Colin Arendse said the memo from Tiyo depicted the racist narrative that was evident in the police.
Arendse said the people’s campaign was in response to the corrupt actions against Vearey, Lincoln and Jacobs, and action must be taken against Tiyo.
Provincial CPF board chairperson Fransina Lukas said the community representatives on the Western Police Board have followed with interest the disciplinary processes instituted against Vearey and his subsequent dismissal.
Lukas said the community component of the partnership noted and respected the right of police management to discipline and reprimand its members in accordance with its policies.
However, she said the community must state that the dismissal came as a big shock and a setback for policing in the Western Cape, which was plagued by violent crime and murders.
“Vearey played a critical role as a provincial detective head in investigating violent crime and murders. A case in point is the arrest and conviction of the killer of Uyinene Mrwetyane, as well as the arrest and the conviction of several high-flyers in the crime underworld,” she said.
Lukas said the uncovering of the guns to gangs scheme also contributed to the great work done by Vearey.