Firing of top cop Jeremy Vearey 'has all the hallmarks of a witch-hunt'
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Cape Town – Western Cape’s head of detectives, Major-General Jeremy Vearey, has been fired.
Support for the former school teacher, MK soldier, author, poet and father has been flooding in from various sectors, including parties, calling for ministerial intervention.
This is according to disciplinary paperwork which was leaked to Weekend Argus showing Vearey was found guilty of misconduct on May 27.
His firing comes after Vearey made degrading posts on Facebook, especially focusing on National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sithole between December 2020 and February this year.
The document, which is addressed to the police commissioner, states that after a decision was made, Vearey was officially dismissed on recommendation of Eastern Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga.
It reads: “On 27th May 2021, I have decided to dismiss the employee in terms of Regulation (12)(1)(e) of the Discipline Regulations, 2016.”
It further reads that Sithole had confirmed the dismissal.
“By virtue of the power vested in me, in terms of Regulation (4) of the South African Police Services Discipline Regulations 2016, I, General Khela John Sithole, hereby confirm the following: Dismissed, confirmed.”
The document is dated and signed by Sithole.
Vearey also came under the spotlight after his cellphone was allegedly intercepted by underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack, who is awaiting his bail application at the Blue Downs Regional Court on June 9.
On February 18, Vearey made a Facebook post with the quote, “Time longer than rope”, where he shared a news story about Sithole, in which President Cyril Ramaphosa had requested him to hand over all documents relating to the attempted unlawful procurement.
The posts were apparently made between December 2020 and February this year.
ANC MP Faiez Jacobs, claiming he was not speaking as a party member but in his personal capacity as a comrade of Vearey, stated the attack on him has lasted for over a decade and that MKs are being punished.
“The theme for JV & PJ (Jeremy Vearey and Peter Jacobs), this is just the latest attack on them,” said Jacobs today.
“They have been subjects to this harassment for the past decade, because they refuse to be corrupt. Why are our MK heroes & generals being punished and victimised?
“This seems to be a trend in the SAPS/Hawks and Ipid - Andre Lincoln, Zelda Holtzman, Anwar Dramat, Gary Kruser, Robert McBride, Peter Jacobs and now Jeremy Vearey.
“Main theme, all MK and (those) principled against corruption... I call for ministerial intervention. This national commissioner is currently being investigated for his fitness to lead.”
At the weekend, Vearey’s old friend and comrade, Michael Jacobs shared the same sentiments, stating it was an attack and an act of propaganda.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo confirmed Vearey’s dismissal adding it had been decided by the National Commissioner: “In light of the huge media and public interest in the matter of Major General Jeremy Vearey, the South African Police Service can confirm that a sanction of dismissal imposed on the Major General was endorsed by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service on Friday, 28 May 2021.
“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.
“These actions were considered a misconduct in terms of the SAPS Disciplinary Regulations and therefore warranted a departmental action.”
Vearey did not take any calls or messages.
Last week, he said: “Please allow me to reiterate that the SAPS does not provide details of any internal processes of the police in the public domain.”
“However, we may consider issuing a media statement depending on the outcome of disciplinary matters.”
Jacobs (Michael) referenced Ant-Gang Unit head Brigadier Andre Lincoln who is facing an internal investigation after he allegedly failed to secure the safety of his commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, who was assassinated outside of his home in September last year in Bishop Lavis.
He also named former Hawks head, Anwar Dramat, and Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs.
The former Crime Intelligence boss was suspended for three months and returned to service after being charged with misconduct over the alleged unlawful use of a secret slush fund to bankroll Covid-19 personal protective equipment, totalling, R1.5 million.
SACP Western Cape secretary, Benson Ngqentsu, said for them this is not simply a matter of labour relations between the employer and employee, as a dismissal of such a high-ranking and distinguished officer has implications for stability and law enforcement capacity to fight crime effectively.
“This decision unfortunately has all the hallmarks of an orchestrated pernicious witch-hunt that has destabilised the police leadership in the province with dire consequences for crime-fighting capacity.
“In labour relation terms, the matter with respect to General Veary's dismissal can be viewed as akin to premeditated dismissal using the dispute procedures to tick the procedural compliance tick box.
“General Veary’s resolute stance on malfeasance and corruption is evidently not welcomed by the discredited law enforcement leadership.”
He added that the use of Vearey’s comments on social media was inconsistent with the values enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
“Increasingly, draconian rules are enforced to silence whistle-blowers which has become commonplace in public institutions riddled with accusations of malfeasance and corruption.”