Leaked recording in top cops’ case highlights bad blood within police

Cape Town - Police managers initially tried to have two senior Western Cape officers meet them alone without their attorney to try and smooth over their unhappiness over transfers - which became the subject of a court case - and another apparently tried to bribe the officers.

But both these incidents have been dismissed by police - the first is said to have been a human resources strategy, while the second is said to have been adequately explained.

These matters relate to the Cape Town Labour Court case which focused on Major-General Jeremy Vearey and Major-General Peter Jacobs.

The case wrapped up last Thursday.

The two senior policeman had approached the court after they were suddenly transferred in June 2016 - moves the court set aside - which they believed jeopardised mammoth investigations, particularly into gun smuggling.

This week, it surfaced that Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya, the national deputy police commissioner for human resources, and Lieutenant General Lineo Ntshiea, the divisional commissioner of personnel services, had met with Vearey and Jacobs in the early stages of the matter.

News24 has a voice recording of the meeting.

The two police officers wanted Vearey and Jacobs to meet with them independently of each other, and without their attorney.

This did not happen. The duo did not agree to it and their attorney, Clive Hendricks, was at the meeting.

In the recording, after Jacobs asks if he may record the meeting, one of the human resources officers sounds upset.

Bad faith

"It just shows that this is not in good faith," she says.

Jacobs also says the meeting may have started in good faith, but he no longer feels that is the case.

One of the human resources officers sounds upset when learning that Jacobs is indeed recording the meeting.

She also says it is not in good faith and it is, therefore, not necessary for them to meet and that she never agreed to the recording.

When asked if the two human resources officers are terminating the meeting, one can be heard whispering to the other.

It is not clear what she said.

National police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe on Friday told News24 that improving relationships between employers and employees was an important aspect of a human resources strategy.

She said the meeting between Mgwenya, Ntshiea and the two major-generals, without their attorney, "would have been in line with the execution of the general’s day-to-day responsibilities".

"As a matter of fact, from time to time it’s common practice that human resources practitioners within the service engage with staff to discuss pertinent issues at hand."

Mgwenya wrote the police's responding affidavit in the Labour Court case, arguing that the redeployment of Vearey and Jacobs had been fair.

'What's your price?'

On March 23 this year, inside the Cape Town Labour Court while the case was being heard, Brigadier Arthur Mphahlele of the police's legal services asked Vearey and Jacobs: "Everyone has a price. What do you want to drop the case?"

Netwerk24 had reported on this.

"Brigadier Arthur Mphahlele of the police's legal services gave an explanation to the comments you mention in your enquiry; his explanation was accepted," Mathe said.

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