The dismissal of Western Cape detective Jeremy Vearey has re-emphasized the rottenness within the SAPS.
Vearey, a former uMkhonto weSizwe guerrilla detained on Robben Island, became one of Nelson Mandela’s bodyguards and was integrated into the National Intelligence Agency, the predecessor of the State Security Agency, in 1994.
In 1996 he joined the SAPS, where he was forced to work with some of the police officers who had persecuted him in the 1980s. His axes last week allegedly related to his Facebook posts, which police management believed were directed against the fire-attacked National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole.
This was not Vearey’s first encounter with national police. In 2016, he and the former SAPS National Crime Intelligence chief Peter Jacobs were unceremoniously removed as deputy provincial commissioners for the Western Cape and demoted to cluster commanders. They took their case to the Labor Court and won their reinstatement, but that wouldn’t be the end of their troubles.
Jacobs, who was removed from his position as head of National Crime Intelligence, recently obtained an interdict against the national police administration preventing them from holding a disciplinary hearing over the murder of former anti-gang unit commander Charl Kinnear last September Year.
Police management claimed Jacobs failed to respond to warnings that Kinnear’s phone was being followed by underworld characters. Sitole is also under scrutiny when President Cyril Ramaphosa considers opening an investigation into his capacity to act following a complaint from Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Some would suggest that Vearey is a victim of a factional power struggle within the SAPS between Cele and Sitole. But while the police force was at odds, the South Africans suffered. Two weeks ago, 13 people were killed in cold blood on the streets of Khayelitsha. The daily homicide rate is 58 and while there are many variables this can never be tenable and we ask that the police take the fight against crime seriously rather than preoccupied with factional struggles.