Top cop disciplined

Cape Town - A high-ranking police officer, found guilty of insubordination, has been warned of instant dismissal if found guilty again within the next 12 months.

This was the outcome on Tuesday of a protracted disciplinary hearing involving Senior Superintendent Jeremy Vearey, suspended chief investigating officer with the Operation Slasher unit, launched to probe 1 500 unsolved gang-related murders and attempted murders.

The hearing was before police Director Bert van der Walt, of the SAPS Legal Service headquarters, who highlighted testimony by provincial commissioner Lennit Max that insubordination involving senior officers would cause chaos in the SAPS.

Vearey initially faced 14 charges, of which four were withdrawn. Of the 10 remaining counts, he was acquitted on seven.

Vearey was sanctioned on three charges. On the worst of the three - defying an order by Max for his temporary transfer from Operation Slasher - his sanction was dismissal.

However, his dismissal was suspended for 12 months on condition he was not again disciplined for misconduct relating to insubordination during this period.

For refusing to present dockets to a superior officer for inspection, he was reprimanded, and for doing so in the presence of subordinates, he was fined R500.

Van der Walt ordered that the fine be deducted from his next pay cheque.

Vearey indicated his intention to appeal.

Van der Walt said the SAPS was a paramilitary organisation and he had to take into account that acts of insubordination would cause chaos.

Max told the hearing Vearey could not accept authority, and for this reason could no longer be trusted.

The commissioner said if Vearey was not dismissed, "we will be back here again within six months, with Vearey again in the dock".

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