Western Cape detective head under investigation in sexting scandal

WhatsApp messaging. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
WhatsApp messaging. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Cape Town - Police have confirmed that an investigation has been launched into graphic sexual messages apparently sent from the head of detectives in the Western Cape to an official group comprising several detective commanders in the province.

News24 understands that Major-General Patrick Mbotho, the deputy provincial commissioner of detectives, sent the two messages from his official cellphone via WhatsApp last 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.

News24 has seen the messages, as well as those of an apology that Mbotho then sent.

"Sorry guys delete that," one said.

"It's a bad joke to my friend," another said.

On Monday, Mbotho sounded mortified when he briefly chatted to News24.

"I'm not being rude, I wish I could talk to you," he said.

Mbotho said when he realised he had sent the messages; he wished he could have been swallowed into a hole.

He referred News24 to communications officers for official comment.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said: "Western Cape police management is aware of the allegations, which are currently under investigation."

READ: NC top cop met underworld figure Modack


African National Congress activist Colin Arendse wrote to several police managers, including police minister Fikile Mbalula, on Monday as the graphic messages had been forwarded to him.

"I'm told that several detective commanders who are part of this WhatsApp group were devastated and shocked at the extremely graphic nature of the pornographic clip and the sick message," Arendse's email to them said.

"General Mbotho, it pains me that while the people of the Western Cape are dodging live bullets and wondering when you will oversee the  finalisation of several outstanding dockets, you have the time to engage in illegal and morally corrupt activities."

Mbotho has before been the centre of controversy.

In May this year several sources with intimate knowledge of policing said Mbotho had twice met with underworld figure Nafiz Modack, who is said to be heading up a new faction taking over the control of club security from another faction.

Sources had said these meetings had been about firearms and luxury cars.

However, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, speaking on Mbotho's behalf at the time, denied this.

"This serves to confirm that the gentleman referred to in your email [Modack] was in Major-General Mbotho's office in connection with a complaint he had against the police," she said.

"During the meeting, it transpired that the nature of complaint fell outside the jurisdiction of the SAPS Western Cape and he was subsequently referred to the office of the judge of [the Hawks]."

READ: Vearey never permanent head of WCape detectives, Labour Court told

Labour dispute

Major-General Jeremy Vearey had previously been the deputy provincial commissioner for detective services, but was replaced by Mbotho in 2016.

This now forms part of a Labour Court case as Vearey, who was shifted to a position he previously filled, commander of the Cape Town cluster of police stations, believes he was demoted.

Vearey, as well as another top Western Cape police officer, Major-General Peter Jacobs - who also believes he was demoted - are taking on, among others, Mbotho, then-acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and provincial crime intelligence head Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo, in the Labour Court case.

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