'Hogwash!': Vearey slams Sunday Times report on kidnapping and torture allegations
Cape Town - Major General Jeremy Vearey, the head of detectives in the Western Cape, has slammed as "hogwash" a Sunday Times report that he and Brigadier Cass Goolam face criminal charges including kidnapping, torture and defeating the ends of justice.
According to the Sunday Times, Vearey and Goolam are being investigated for allegedly trying to pin the murder of policeman Mervin Jacobs, who was shot dead while investigating a drug deal in Mitchell's Plain in 2009, on two men. According to the paper, one man was allegedly tortured and told to confess to killing Jacobs.
Vearey told IOL that the article was part of "a narrative constructed with the journalist who had an association with the rogue unit that General Jacobs said was unlawful and would require investigation. That rogue unit would be Crime Intelligence, which is still continuing its smear campaign."
He went on to say that the timing of the latest allegations, coming just months before the general elections in May, was a cause for concern. Vearey said that the allegations, when taken in conjunction with statements recently made by DA Western Cape premier candidate Alan Winde, were part of a campaign against the ANC which he had subsequently been made aware of.
"I'm a police officer, so I'm not quite sure how I've become an election issue for the DA," he said.
Vearey said the report was also consistent with the Sunday Times' reporting who he accused of "concocting stories against comrades" including Anwar Dramat.
Referring to the Cato Manor "death squad" scandal, which saw a number of senior KZN police officers face criminal charges for allegedly being part of a group of rogue cops who reportedly used deadly force in their investigations, Vearey said this was part of a theme which the newspaper used. The 21 accused have all been cleared internally while the criminal case has been adjourned 20 times since 2012.
"They combined the alleged kidnapping concoction of Dramat (in the Zimbabwe rendition saga) with the torture theme of (former KZN top cop) Johan Booysen) and now, (with the allegations against Vearey and Goolam), they seem to have all the elements in one story. It is a pattern that they build, elaborately constructing false narratives."
The charges against Dramat stemmed from allegations that while he was the head of the Hawks he, Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya and top cop Captain Lesley Maluleke unlawfully handed Zimbabwean fugitives over to police from that country after arresting them in 2010. The charges, which were laid in 2016, were dropped in September last year.
"What is worse is back then when these cases were registered they were investigated by senior officers like General Johan Brandt - who is now the Western Cape police ombudsman - but the NPA declined to prosecute because there was no substance to the allegations," said Vearey.
"They always go to criminals to construct a narrative. In this case, it is gangsters from Tafelsig. If you look at the allegations; kidnapping 41 people and torturing them; anyone who reads it can see there's something that is contrived."
Vearey was emphatic that he does not trust the police to deal with the matter so he has decided to handle it "outside the system".