Firing of Jeremy Vearey 'not simply a labour relations matter'
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Cape Town - Major-General Jeremy Vearey, the Western Cape detective head, has been fired after being found guilty of misconduct for “disrespectful” social media posts.
Vearey was axed over Facebook posts allegedly aimed at National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole.
Vearey was charged with bringing the police service into disrepute with eight Facebook posts between December 2020 and February 2021 containing links to media reports.
Most of those referred to disciplinary charges against former crime intelligence boss, Peter Jacobs.
Police Minister Bheki Cele’s spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, confirmed that Cele had been informed about Vearey’s dismissal.
National SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Vish Naidoo, also confirmed that Vearey has been fired.
“General Vearey was subjected to a disciplinary process following social media posts he made of messages and images between late last year and earlier this year and caused the same to be circulated via the social media network.
“Some of the messages were directed at the national commissioner and contained words that were considered derogatory, offensive, insulting and disrespectful to the national commissioner thus bringing the national commissioner and the South African Police Service into disrepute,” Naidoo said.
“These actions were considered a misconduct in terms of the SAPS Disciplinary Regulations and therefore warranted a departmental action.“
A leaked document – Notice in terms of regulations 9(3) of the SAPS discipline regulations, 2016, signed by Eastern Cape Commissioner Liziwe Ntshinga and Sitole – stated that on May 25, 2021, Ntshinga found that Vearey had committed a contravention of the provisions of regulation 5(4) of the SAPS discipline regulations, 2016, bringing the name of the SAPS employer into disrepute.
In the document, Ntshinga, who chaired Vearey’s disciplinary hearing, stated that, on May 27, she decided to dismiss him in terms of regulation 12(1)(e) of the discipline regulations, 2016.
SA Communist Party provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu said for them it was not simply a matter of labour relations between the employer and employee. This was because a dismissal of such a high ranking and distinguished officer had implications for stability and law enforcement capacity to fight crime effectively.
Ngqentsu said the decision unfortunately had all the hallmarks of an orchestrated, pernicious witch-hunt that had destabilised the police leadership in the province with dire consequences for crime fighting capacity.
"In labour relations terms the matter with respect to General Vearey’s dismissal can be viewed as akin to premeditated dismissal using the dispute procedures to tick the procedural compliance tick box,“ said Ngqentsu.
Veary’s resolute stance on malfeasance and corruption was evidently not welcomed by the discredited law enforcement leadership, he said.
Community safety standing committee chairperson Reagan Allen has called on SAPS management to repress apparent factional battles to prevent the latest internal disciplinary development from stifling crime fighting initiatives in the province.
Allen said Vearey’s dismissal followed an expeditious disciplinary hearing after an ongoing public spat regarding matters of misconduct which brought other members and the SAPS brand into disrepute, yet again.