Cape Town - Western Cape Major-General Jeremy Vearey was only acting as deputy provincial commissioner for detective services, and was not entitled to keep the position, the lawyer for the SAPS officials contesting his ''demotion'' dispute said in the Labour Court in Cape Town on Friday.
''The mere fact that you are acting in a position does not mean you are appointed to that position,'' said advocate Alec Freund, SC.
Freund is representing the Minister of Police, the Acting National Commissioner of Police, the Provincial Commissioner of Police, SAPS Human Resources, Major-General Mzwandile Tito, Major-General Patrick Mbotho and the SA Police Services in the challenge by two high ranking officers.
''It does not mean you are entitled to that position.''
Freund submitted to Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker that when appointed to act in a position, there are performance expectations, ''but it doesn't give you a right to stay there''.
Not permanently appointed
Vearey, and provincial colleague Peter Jacobs, who headed the Western Cape's Crime Intelligence Unit, are alleging they were suddenly demoted on 13 June 2016 for ulterior motives.
Vearey was sent to a position he had previously filled - commander of the Cape Town cluster of police stations, while Jacobs was appointed Wynberg cluster commander.
They are asking the Labour Court to have the decision reviewed, with the support of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, which believes their removals were irrational and unlawful and could have wider ramifications for other members.
But Freund said that it was only Jacobs who was transferred.
He submitted that Vearey had never even been permanently appointed to the detective services post.
Vearey said that between August 2014 and February 2015, he was cluster commander of Cape Town.
Between 9 February 2015 and June 2016, he served in the acting capacity at detective services.
To prove that he had been acting in the post, Freund said Vearey's performance agreement noted that he was acting.
He would have been able to argue that he had been transferred if he had actually been appointed to the deputy post full time, continued Freund.
''His position, in which he is placed, is the cluster commander, Cape Town Central,'' he said.
He conceded that there was a ''fairly fundamental'' restructuring at the time, but not all positions were affected, including Vearey's.
On Thursday, Vearey and Jacobs' counsel argued that their removals were irrational and unlawful, and made no sense given their specialised gang knowledge and serious gang-related crime in the Western Cape.
The application continues.