Guest Column

What time has brewed - the dirty politics plaguing police

2017-03-15 11:00
Major-General Andre Lincoln (File, Supplied)

Major-General Andre Lincoln (File, Supplied)

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Caryn Dolley

Decades-deep politically rooted fissures are still creeping deeper within police and casting lengthening shadows on some of the country's highest security agencies.

And there is no denying it – these fractures are being exposed in the public arena.

A court case that started in the Western Cape this week is putting the spotlight on intricate dealings that started just after the fall of apartheid, still dividing police.

Major-General Andre Lincoln is suing the former safety and security minister for R15 million because he believes that about two decades ago he was wrongfully charged on a slew of counts.

He is arguing in the high court that he was framed by senior cops to effectively derail his investigations, mandated in 1996 by former President Nelson Mandela, into among others, mafioso Vito Palazzolo and his relationships with senior police and politicians.

Lincoln has testified that the head of the National Intelligence Agency in Cape Town at the time, Arthur Fraser, had tried to get him to plead guilty to the charges levelled against him.

In exchange, Lincoln testified that he was assured he would not serve time in jail.

But Lincoln says he did not accept this deal.

Fraser is now the director-general of the national State Security Agency.

Lincoln has gone on to testify that police officers based nationally previously stabbed him in the back, blowing his cover as an investigator, thereby thwarting top secret probes that were unfolding when the country was in the early stages of democracy.

The Lincoln case comes just after top cop Major-General Jeremy Vearey alleged to News24 that senior police officers in the Western Cape are effectively trying to frame him for setting up the murder of a high-profile gang leader last year.

“This is another attempt by certain senior officers within the SA Police Service, in collusion with a 28s gangster, to discredit me," Vearey told News24 earlier this month.

He also took a swipe at national police, saying they last year initially probed claims made against him, but never told him the outcome of this.

It is not the first time Vearey has claimed there is a smear campaign to tarnish his name.

He has long maintained there is a campaign against him because of, among other matters, the role he played in having gang boss Rashied Staggie arrested and convicted for rape more than a decade ago.

Vearey is set to testify in the Lincoln matter.

And then there is a second legal battle against police he is embroiled in which resumes later this month.

Vearey, along with Major-General Peter Jacobs, is taking on police management in the labour court in Cape Town after the two were in 2016 moved to different positions which they believe were effectively demotions.

Lincoln was also part of this police reshuffle in the Western Cape.

Vearey, who was deputy provincial commissioner for detective services, was suddenly shifted to a position he previously filled, commander of the Cape Town cluster of police stations.

Ironically, it was Lincoln who had filled the position of Cape Town cluster commander, but was shifted to the Winelands to make way for Vearey.

Meanwhile, Jacobs, who headed the province's crime intelligence unit, was appointed Wynberg cluster commander.

And this is where the matter gets even messier.

Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo was then re-appointed the head of provincial crime intelligence to replace Jacobs.

Tiyo was previously the acting head of the Western Cape’s Crime Intelligence Unit and more than a year ago he also turned to the labour court in Cape Town as he felt victimised for having investigated the province’s former police commissioner, Arno Lamoer.

Tiyo believed that in January 2014 Lamoer allegedly blocked him from becoming the province’s crime intelligence head.

Lamoer went on to be arrested and Tiyo was appointed as provincial crime intelligence head.

Later this year Lamoer is set to go on trial, along with four other senior police officers and a local businessman, in the Western Cape High Court on charges including corruption and racketeering.

Other police officers in the province have spoken to News24, on condition of anonymity, saying that since the now-Western Cape police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula took over from Lamoer, all the top officers in charge of the operational control of the province have changed.

They say a number of officers who have been deployed in the Western Cape on the orders of national police, have a particular political agenda and that efforts are being made to side-line certain officers.

This could be seen as history repeating itself.

These actions and comments could be diversion tactics.

Either way, if so, who is now protecting who and why?

And more importantly, is the ripple effect of all this turmoil impacting on policing and residents on the ground?

- Caryn Dolley is deputy news editor of News24 in Cape Town.

Read more on:    court  |  police
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