South Africa

SAPS WARS

Crime Intelligence boss Peter Jacobs lodges criminal complaint over ‘unlawfulness’ in disciplinary against him

Suspended SAPS Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs. (Tracey Adams / ANA)

Six suspended Crime Intelligence officers, including its head Peter Jacobs, have been the subject of an internal disciplinary hearing this week, but allegations have now surfaced that those running it are not entitled to have access to classified documents crucial to the process — and will break the law if they do.

Divisions among some of the country’s top police officers are becoming even wider. A criminal complaint has been lodged over alleged discrepancies picked up in a disciplinary process focused on Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs and five of his colleagues.

This manoeuvre has likely further pitted Jacobs against National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole and the deputy national commissioner of crime detection, Lieutenant-General Sindile Mfazi.

Daily Maverick previously reported that Sitole had pushed ahead with Jacobs’s suspension, a move that Jacobs viewed as part of a broader campaign to sideline him, and that Jacobs claimed Mfazi had bullied and threatened him.

To counter his suspension, Jacobs had written to Sitole saying that there was evidence that the Secret Service Account “was looted by a number of” chief financial officers, divisional commissioners and senior crime intelligence officers.

Sitole moves to suspend Jacobs amid allegations of threats and workplace bullying

At face value, it would therefore seem that Jacobs’s claims of being sidelined were linked to the looting he was uncovering relating to the secret account.

Jacobs was served a notice of suspension on 30 November 2020, ironically (in context of what he says evidence points to) due to allegations of personal protective equipment procurement irregularities involving the Secret Service Account

About a week later, so were five other officers: Brigadier Deon Lombard, Colonel Isaac Waljee, Colonel Manogaran Gopal, Major-General Maperemisa Lekalakala and Colonel Bale Matamela.

This week the six have been subjected to a disciplinary hearing – an expeditious process that is basically a condensed form of a usual disciplinary procedure that does not involve witnesses being called to testify or be cross-examined.

The process was meant to run from Monday to Friday.

However, it has since emerged that claims have been made that the police officer chairing the process, the stenographer and the officer investigating the matter, do not have security clearance and are therefore legally not entitled to have access to classified documents that are critical to the process.

If this was indeed the case, police management should have been aware of this from the outset and should not have pushed ahead with the disciplinary.

A criminal complaint, relating to the Contravention of the Protection of Information Act and the Intelligence Act, was subsequently lodged at the Silverton police station in Pretoria on Monday.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo confirmed on Wednesday that a case, matching the case number of the matter lodged in Silverton, related to the Intelligence Act.

“No further details regarding this case will be disclosed at this stage as this matter is subject to investigation as well as the allegations thereon would need to be tested,” he said.

“This case shall have no bearing on any other matters at this stage.”

It is understood Jacobs wrote to Cele on Tuesday about matters relating to the disciplinary hearing, requesting urgent intervention, after unsuccessfully trying to get hold of Sitole and Mfazi. 

Cele had then written to Sitole on Wednesday.

While the disciplinary was set to run until Friday, it may wind up prematurely on Thursday.

Jacobs and his suspended colleagues, however, will try to halt the process as they do not believe they have been given a fair chance to deal with the matter.

Daily Maverick previously reported that about a month ago Jacobs was unexpectedly told that his suspension would be lifted, enabling him to return to work on 3 March.

Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs is told he can return to work after months of fighting ‘suspension’

Last month it was also reported that the two senior police officers who Sitole tasked to investigate Jacobs, were the subjects of a Hawks investigation into an alleged R200-million PPE tender spree. DM

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  • So who’s policing the country while the top cops are chasing each other’s tails? The pathetic state of policing warrants much more attention than it gets from politicians. I guess it suits those with their hands in the till but hell it’s hard on communities that take law into their own hands for lack of legal consequences for anyone much starting with JZ et al.

  • In a disciplinary hearing of this nature the process must be correct whilst one must have a fair chance to defend yourself. From what Jacobs is saying his case does not meet these criteria.
    Someone wants him out of the way, at least for a while. As with all such matters there is a lot more than meets the eye. Mr Jacobs will at the end most likely walk away with a golden handshake on the condition he cannot say a word further about anything. The public would not be any wiser. Is this a non-story or the beginning of another huge revelation of the ruling party’s conundrums? Time will tell.