Western Cape top cop faces misconduct probe over 'disrespectful' social media posts about Sitole

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Western Cape Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner Jeremy Vearey.
Western Cape Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner Jeremy Vearey.
Deon Raath
  • Western Cape deputy police commissioner Jeremy Vearey, faces misconduct charges over "degrading" social media posts. 
  • Top cop Khehla Sitole has accused Vearey of bringing the police into disrepute and of disrespecting him. 
  • This a week after Vearey represented his close ally, former Crime Intelligence boss Peter Jacobs, in a fraught disciplinary hearing. 

Western Cape deputy police commissioner Major-General Jeremy Vearey faces an internal misconduct probe over social media posts which "disrespect" the authority of national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole.

A notice of the investigation - compiled by Sitole on 8 March and obtained by News24 - raised allegations of misconduct linked to Vearey's social media presence.

It read:

"You allegedly brought the name of the employer into disrepute by posting images and messages, and causing same to be circulated through social media...[The posts] were intended to degrade the leadership of the South African Police Service and/or disrespect the authority of the national commissioner."

The posts were alleged to have been published on 16 February.

Vearey could not be reached for comment. 

The move on Vearey places him on common ground with former Crime Intelligence boss Peter Jacobs who was summarily demoted by Sitole last week.

READ | Crime Intelligence: Night of the long knives sees Peter Jacobs fall

Sitole's executive order, which has seen Jacobs shunted downward to head the police's Inspectorate Division, adds to swirling claims by the spy boss that he is the victim of a purge because he had uncovered deep-rooted corruption in Crime Intelligence; malfeasance which threatened to draw in top police brass.  

The shock "redeployment" of Jacobs came on the same day that he was to return to work after serving a three-month suspension after he and five other high-ranking officers were charged with misconduct over the "unlawful" use of a secret slush fund to bankroll Covid-19 personal protective equipment to the tune of R1.5 million.

Process

At the culmination of their suspension, the officers faced an "expeditious" disciplinary process, one which was eventually halted by an urgent Labour Court application set to be heard tomorrow, underpinned by objections from Jacobs that the presiding officer - as well as his administrative assistants - did not have security clearance.

National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole.

Vearey had served as Jacobs' staff representative at the hearing.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union's (Popcru) Richard Mamabolo confirmed Vearey had been served with the misconduct notice and said the union would be making representations on his behalf.

Jacobs and Vearey are not unfamiliar bedfellows and are close allies, their history dating back to the fight against the apartheid regime in the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe.

READ | More apparent attempts to target Crime Intelligence head and top detective revealed

In 2016, the two headed the largest illicit firearms investigation in South African history which saw thousands of weapons meant for destruction being sold to the criminal underworld in the Western Cape.

Guns, which were effectively stolen from under the noses of the police by a network of crooked cops, have been linked to more than 1 000 murder cases.

While Jacobs and Vearey turned the screws on the syndicate, they were suddenly transferred from their positions, a move which they - in court papers - claimed had been an effort to torpedo the investigation, under the banner of Project Impi.

Two years after they were shifted out of their posts, the Labour Court ruled their transfers had been unlawful and ordered they return to their posts. Jacobs was installed as Crime Intelligence head and Vearey took office in his current post.

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