'Ulterior' motive behind transfer of two top WCape cops, court hears

Jeremy Vearey and Peter Jacobs outside court during an earlier appearance (Maygene de Wee, Netwerk24)
Jeremy Vearey and Peter Jacobs outside court during an earlier appearance (Maygene de Wee, Netwerk24)

Cape Town - Transferring major-generals Jeremy Vearey and Peter Jacobs to ''benign'' police clusters made no sense given their inroads into probing the sale of firearms by police to gangsters, the lawyer for the two said in the Labour Court in Cape Town on Thursday.

''Their transfers can only have been for an ulterior motive,'' advocate Michael Donen SC submitted to Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker as the two fought for a review of their transfers.

The results that the two brought since 2013 on various anti-gang and corruption units included the arrest of a high level police officer who had been involved in selling guns meant for destruction by the SA Police Service.

''They investigated 1 066 gang murders committed with firearms provided by the SAPS,'' said Donen.

Moving them to clusters that concentrate on property crime - given concerns about gang violence - made no sense.

READ: WCape crime intelligence boss had no security clearance, court hears

Stolen guns

Vearey was the former deputy provincial commissioner for detective services and Jacobs headed the Western Cape's Crime Intelligence unit.

But in 2016 Vearey was shifted to a position he had previously filled - commander of the Cape Town cluster of police stations, while Jacobs was appointed Wynberg cluster commander.

They were told they were being transferred on June 13, 2016, and have approached the Labour Court to have the decision reviewed, with the support of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union.

The guns stolen from the police armoury were linked to an additional 1 403 attempted murders and 355 other crimes and many of the victims were children, continued Donen.

"None of this is in dispute. Instead, the [police] chose to reduce 'Project Impimpi', eliminate Vearey and Jacobs, and that's only the present situation,'' he submitted.

In December 2016, Netwerk24 reported that a former policeman, Christiaan Prinsloo, was sentenced to 18 years for his role in a gun smuggling network.

The first death linked via ballistics to one of the stolen firearms was in February 2010.

Security clearance

Three-year-old Leshay Arnold was struck by a stray bullet fired from one of the firearms, the Netwerk24 report said.

In 2011, three teens, Sedick Cochraine ,18, Dillan Hendricks, 17, and Nazeed Sadan, 18, were killed with the firearms.

On Thursday Donen said: ''Daily we read about how the gangs are using firearms and murdering people and very often little children [are killed].

''In those circumstances the transfers of Jacobs and Vearey from the leading roles that they played, to benign posts as cluster commanders, is not in the public interest.''

Earlier the court heard Jacobs was moved to make way for Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo who had no security clearance.

The court also heard that they submitted representations over the transfers, but that these were allegedly ignored.

They allege that proper process was not followed over their transfer and they want the court to review it.

They are members of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, which is supporting their case.

The case has been set down for two days and will continue on Friday afternoon.

Advocate Alec Freund SC represents Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane.

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