WCape crime intelligence boss had no security clearance, court hears

Western Cape policeman  Major-General Jeremy Vearey sits with Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union provincial secretary Mncedisi Mbolekwa at the Labout Court.  (Jenni Evans, News24)
Western Cape policeman Major-General Jeremy Vearey sits with Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union provincial secretary Mncedisi Mbolekwa at the Labout Court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Cape Town - The Western Cape head of crime intelligence, Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo, had no security clearance, no matric certificate, faced a pending driving under the influence probe, and was unfit to possess a firearm when his predecessor Major-General Peter Jacobs, was shifted to make way for him, the Labour Court in Cape Town heard on Thursday.

''Jacobs alleges that without such security clearance, a member cannot access classified information and cannot perform provincial crime intelligence [duties], said Advocate Michael Donen SC for Jacobs.

Police major-generals Jacobs and Jeremy Vearey are challenging their demotions in the Labour Court, alleging "irrational" decision at SAPS.

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

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.

'Shoved'

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.

Both consider this a demotion that was not supported by any of the required legal procedures.

Donen submitted that it looked as though they were ''shoved'' out of their posts.

They were told that it was part of overall restructuring in the province to improve efforts to combat violent crime and gang activities.

There are questions over how effective Tiyo could be without being allowed access to classified information.

When the police were asked about this by the lawyers for the applicants, they were threatened over discussing security clearance issues in a public court, instead of clearing it up.

Both sides had since agreed that Tiyo did not have security clearance when he was appointed.

''So you can't put someone in this post who has been refused some of those qualifications,'' Donen said.

"However, Tiyo was also elevated from [the rank of] Brigadier to Major-General,'' he said.

''Everything is screaming at the national commissioner, make sure there are requirements and that they are met."

Donen said that the national commissioner, Acting Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, must record any deviations from the placement process in writing, but that was also not done.

''The fact that the incumbent of the post is moved out, to put in someone who is not qualified to have a access [to intelligence] is a matter of serious public concern,'' said Donen.

And, on top of that, two months before the 13 June ''transfer'' of Jacobs and Vearey, Tiyo was asked by SAPS to report for duty at Western Cape Provincial Intelligence offices "with immediate effect".

The driving under the influence matter, as well as the matric issue and gun possession fitness, was not elaborated on in court.

It was also not mentioned whether or not Tiyo now had security clearance.

The case will continue later on Thursday.

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