Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Major-General Jeremy Vearey. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Major-General Jeremy Vearey. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Firing Jeremy Vearey shows leadership crisis in SAPS - DA

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published May 31, 2021

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Cape Town - The DA says the dismissal of Western Cape detective head, Major-General Jeremy Vearey, is a symptom of the ongoing leadership crisis in the SAPS.

Vearey was fired after being found guilty of misconduct for “disrespectful” social media posts which were allegedly directed at National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole.

The DA’s spokesperson on police, Andrew Whitfield, said the dismissal made a mockery of the police’s disciplinary processes.

“If Police Minister Bheki Cele and Sitole cannot bring stability to the SAPS, we will continue to see selective disciplinary along factional lines which will inevitably lead to increasing dysfunction and low levels of morale.

“The SAPS consistently fails to decisively discipline corrupt police officers and those responsible for brutality within their ranks. This was exposed in Parliament last week. Vearey appears to be a soft target in an ongoing factional purge as we saw in the Eastern Cape recently.”

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said Vearey was subjected to a disciplinary process following social media posts he made of messages and images 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.

“These actions were considered a misconduct in terms of the SAPS disciplinary regulations and therefore warranted a departmental action.”

Last week the SAPS and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) updated the portfolio committee of police on the status of discipline management in the SAPS, the reported cases of misconduct, progress with the cases and the impact of discipline on the conduct of employees.

It was revealed that for the current financial year SAPS probed 3 401 disciplinary cases involving 4 438 of its members. These cases ranged from corruption, rape in police custody, rape by a police officer, torture and assault to death in police custody and deaths as a result of police action, to name a few.

Meanwhile, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said Vearey's axing was an example of what happened when there was poor discipline in the police service.

“Each and every senior manager may have their own views, but I'm of the opinion that you do not solve your problems and internal problems via social media in the public domain. That is ill-discipline,” said Groenewald.

He added: “While I may not know all the merits of the case, if the national commissioner feels that he is within his rights and there is justification, then the law must follow its way.

“I suppose General Vearey will have the opportunity to object and follow due process as far as his version is concerned, but we cannot tolerate that his differences become public in the open domain because that results in the public having less trust in the police services.

“If senior managers cannot even solve their problems internally, how will they solve the crime problems of South Africa?”

Political Bureau

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