A criminal case, sexting saga and ‘compromised’ cops - problems rocking the police

2017-08-08 11:17
SA police. (Antonio Muchave, Gallo Images, File)

SA police. (Antonio Muchave, Gallo Images, File)

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Cape Town - Dirty laundry tarnishing the image of the police - from national management to senior officers at provincial and station level - is being aired via court cases, legal matters and leaked allegations.

In recent weeks, police officers have been accused of negligence, crippling critical national investigations and some have been - and may become - the focus of court matters.

And one particular officer has found himself embroiled in a sexting scandal.

READ: Confidential info leaks in high profile police investigations exposed

Intense friction within the police surfaced when a Cape Town Labour Court case, focusing on senior Western Cape officers Major-General Jeremy Vearey and Major-General Peter Jacobs, wrapped up last Thursday, August 3.

They approached the court after they were suddenly transferred in June 2016 - moves the court set aside and which they believed jeopardised mammoth investigations, particularly into gun smuggling.

Documents in the matter revealed widespread problems in the police, including that Vearey and Jacobs believed they were transferred as they were viewed as being part of a particular political faction.

But several other problems within the police have emerged.

READ: SAPS could be liable for crimes committed with stolen police guns

Cellphone records and defeating the ends of justice

News24 understands a senior Western Cape policeman, via another police officer, tried to obtain Vearey's cellphone records.

However, it is understood a magistrate was asked to give the go-ahead for the release of the records via a case not related to Vearey.

The regional National Prosecuting Authority's spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed the matter to News24.

"We can confirm that S205 subpoena applications were made (for the records)," he said.

"The prosecutor only authorised that which the docket had sufficient cause/reason to do so."

News24 understands that a criminal complaint was subsequently lodged against the senior policeman who apparently tried to get the cellphone records.

In response to being provided with the case number in the matter, provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said last week: "This office can confirm that the case number you are referring to has been registered at Mitchell's Plain police station for defeating the ends of justice."

A defeating the ends of justice case docket was under investigation.

READ: Police won't say if Western Cape Crime Intelligence head has security clearance for job

Sexting scandal

An investigation was launched in July by police into graphic sexual messages the deputy provincial commissioner of detectives, Major-General Patrick Mbotho, sent to an official group comprising several detective commanders in the province.

Mbotho sent the two messages from his official cellphone via WhatsApp on Thursday, July 13.

The first message said he wanted "this" done to his private parts.

A graphic close up video of a man and woman having sex was then also sent to the group of detective heads, of which a few other senior police heads are also members.

In papers submitted in the Cape Town Labour Court, it emerged there were other tensions within the Western Cape, as well as national, police.

READ: Western Cape detective head under investigation in sexting scandal

'Compromised' Western Cape commissioner claim

Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula had at one stage been the deputy provincial commissioner of KwaZulu-Natal responsible for visible policing.

Jacobs and Vearey had investigated taxi violence in that province, which covered the time Jula was based there.

"Our enquiry into what had been done to address the taxi violence indicated a serious lack of operational co-ordination and a basic lack of operational leadership. [Jula] was compromised," Jacobs said in court papers.

Questioned qualifications

Jacobs, who was previously the Western Cape's Crime Intelligence head, also said in court papers that he had received complaints about the officer who had taken over his job, Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo.

This included "that he had not obtained a matric and that he had not received the prescribed security clearance to perform the duties of the head of intelligence".

Jacobs claimed, in court papers, that Tiyo "still lacks the necessary security clearance".

Previous papers filed in the Cape Town Labour Court - in which Tiyo was an applicant in a case - and which were attached to Jacobs's court papers, said Tiyo had left formal schooling in Grade 11 in order to join Umkhonto weSizwe.

"As a result, Tiyo had not completed his matriculation certificate examinations at the time of his integration into SAPS," it said.

But national police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe on Monday told News24 that documents in the police's possession showed Tiyo had a matric certificate which he obtained in 1993.

"We are also in possession of his security clearance certificate which he obtained on 2016/12/01.

"As the SAPS, we are of the view that Major-General Tiyo meets all the requirements for the position, having more than 22 years working experience in the service."

Mathe said all other matters relating to the case were being dealt with internally as it was between employees and an employer.

Police 'negligence'

Jacobs, in an affidavit in the Labour Court matter, said that the national gun smuggling investigation revealed that "senior police officers… appear to have been negligent in management of their responsibility to oversee the destruction of [firearms]".

He said aside from corrupt police officers who colluded with gang leaders to fraudulently and illegally get firearm licences, others within the police could also be implicated in the matter.

"Senior management of the department of the Central Firearm Registry may possibly be liable for managerial negligence."

Read more on:    police  |  jeremy vearey  |  cape town  |  corruption  |  crime

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