South Africa

SAPS IN CRISIS

‘I’m being persecuted’: Cop Andre Lincoln joins Labour Court disciplinary saga over Charl Kinnear’s security

‘I’m being persecuted’: Cop Andre Lincoln joins Labour Court disciplinary saga over Charl Kinnear’s security
Western Cape Anti-Gang Unit head André Lincoln. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

Last week, Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs approached the Labour Court in Johannesburg to try to suspend a disciplinary hearing relating to slain cop Charl Kinnear. Now his colleague, Major-General Andre Lincoln, has also approached the court. Both feel persecuted.

In his Labour Court quest, Jacobs wants the court to effectively interdict the hearing against him that was set to proceed on 25 May because he feels this action was launched due to protected disclosures he made against other senior police officers.

Jacobs, previously the head of Crime Intelligence and now heading the police’s Inspectorate, has referred the disciplinary matter to the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC). This SSSBC matter is expected to be heard on 1 July 2021.

Lincoln, a co-accused in the disciplinary matter with Jacobs, has approached the Labour Court in Cape Town (where Lincoln is based) and wants it to suspend the disciplinary proceedings pending the outcome of Jacobs’s Labour Court application in Johannesburg (where Jacobs is based) – to avoid two rulings on the same matter.

In addition, Lincoln wants an independent chairperson appointed to preside over the disciplinary hearing because he does not believe he will receive a fair hearing if the chair is a police employee.

“I, however, do not ask this Honourable Court to permanently stay the disciplinary proceedings,” Lincoln said in a founding affidavit to the Labour Court dated 15 May 2021.

“I am confident that an independent chairperson, appointed by the SSSBC, will acquit me of the charges. I respectfully submit that the charges are plainly ridiculous and are nothing more than retribution.”

Lincoln explained he was willing to defend himself against the charges he faced if an independent chair was appointed, whereas Jacobs wanted the Labour Court to order that the disciplinary hearing would not proceed “on the basis of his protected disclosures”.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo told Daily Maverick that Jacobs’s application last week had not been opposed.

Lincoln’s application had been received and police were “engaging with him” about it.

This implies police bosses may have some issues with Lincoln approaching the Labour Court.

Both Jacobs and Lincoln face allegations over the security of the Anti-Gang Unit’s Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear in the run-up to his assassination on 18 September 2020 outside his Bishop Lavis home in Cape Town.

The respondents they are up against in the Labour Court are national Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole and Lieutenant-General Japie Riet, the chairperson of the disciplinary proceedings against them.

The Labour Court actions that Jacobs and Lincoln are driving are exposing just how deep divisions have become among some of the country’s top police officers.

It also comes after Daily Maverick recently reported that there was bad blood between Police Minister Bheki Cele and Sitole.

Lincoln, in his founding affidavit in the Labour Court saga, detailed his stance on the Kinnear security situation, saying he felt police bosses were unfairly targeting him.

“I am entitled to be protected from any reprisals from senior Generals in SAPS [South African Police Service],” he said.

“The disciplinary proceedings against me are clearly a result of my disclosures against the senior Generals for having accused them of failing to fulfil their duties and responsibilities as contemplated in the Security Policy.”

Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs wants the Labour Court to order that his disciplinary hearing would not proceed ‘on the basis of his protected disclosures’. (Photo: ANA/Tracey Adams)

Lincoln said: “I believe that I am being persecuted by the SAPS because I have made disclosures about the inaction of my seniors.”

This somewhat mirrors what Jacobs said in his affidavit to the Labour Court last week: “I believe that I am being persecuted by the SAPS because of my protected disclosures.” These disclosures related to alleged wrongdoing at the hands of cops.

Lincoln, in his affidavit, revealed that he is set to retire in October.

“There is a reasonable apprehension that the chairperson will convict me at the disciplinary hearing and dismiss me from the SAPS’s employment,” he said.

“Should I be dismissed by the chairperson and then refer the unfair dismissal to the SSSBC, the matter will not be heard by the SSSBC before the end of October. I will suffer irreparable harm that will have a detrimental delay on my pension benefits.”

Lincoln detailed his version of what had happened to Kinnear ahead of the detective’s murder.

He said Kinnear was seconded to the Anti-Gang Unit in November 2018. 

“We were conducting investigations and operations in Gauteng and the Western Cape provinces,” he said. “The investigations and operations formed part of a process relating to the contravention of the Firearms Control Act, fraud and corruption. 

“The suspects included junior as well as senior members of SAPS and persons associated with gangs (also referred as underworld figures) in the Western Cape.”

Lincoln said that in November 2019 another member of the unit, one Captain Stone, told him that a reliable source had alerted him to threats on the lives of himself (Lincoln), Kinnear, Western Cape detective head Jeremy Vearey, as well as “Captain Jaftha”, an apparent reference to Althea Jeftha, a police officer also heavily involved in investigating underworld crimes.

The threats, Lincoln said, were reported to Vearey and Jacobs.

Anti-Gang Unit members had been dispatched to watch over Kinnear’s home and on 23 November 2019 discovered a suspect outside it with a hand grenade.

This resulted in a court case in which a suspect accused Lincoln of setting up the grenade discovery, while the State accused the suspect of lying. (Nafiz Modack recently became another accused in this grenade case. He has also been added as an accused in the Kinnear murder case.)

Meanwhile, in his affidavit, Lincoln said an investigation launched on 24 November 2019 had revealed “that police members are associated with the source of Captain Stone who revealed the information about the threats. This matter is currently being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Unit.”

On 13 December 2019, the Anti-Gang Unit members monitoring Kinnear’s home were redeployed elsewhere.

“The festive season necessitated the maximum deployment of all SAPS members,” Lincoln said in his affidavit.

In January 2020, he decided that Kinnear should be redeployed to the Sea Point police station where he had previously been based.

But Kinnear had refused to sign the transfer notice.

Lincoln had a meeting with Kinnear, along with a Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union representative.

“We concluded that Kinnear may remain at the [Anti-Gang Unit] and proceed with his investigations. 

“I, however, emphasised the importance of Kinnear to cooperate with the Crime Intelligence Unit to conduct a proper threat assessment. Kinnear indicated that he would rather have no security at all instead of subjecting himself to a Crime Intelligence threat assessment.”

While Lincoln’s affidavit did not refer to it, in December 2018 Kinnear sent a letter of complaint to his bosses claiming that officers in the Western Cape linked to Crime Intelligence were using state resources to work against himself and some of his colleagues.

This implied that Kinnear did not trust certain elements of Crime Intelligence in the province – this is what Jacobs said in his affidavit in his Labour Court quest, further describing the officers Kinnear referred to as a “rogue” unit.

Lincoln, in his affidavit, said that on 4 September 2020 he received a letter from the Hawks “which was intended to appraise the SAPS top management about suspected illegal activities of criminal underworld figures monitoring the whereabouts of senior officers attached to the [Anti-Gang Unit].”

He sent an email about this to then Western Cape police commissioner Yolisa Matakata and made calls to try to establish whether the provincial Hawks head had alerted his boss, the national Hawks head, and Jacobs. 

Lincoln said that on 12 September 2020 – six days before Kinnear’s murder – he checked in with Jacobs about the matter and Jacobs “promised to get back to me but never did”. (Jacobs, in his affidavit, said he was booked off sick from 7 to 14 September 2020, and when he returned to work on the 15th, he was in meetings all day.)

On 16 September 2020, Lincoln, according to his affidavit, was alerted that the cellphones of cops, including himself and Kinnear, were being closely tracked.

Lincoln said he contacted Jacobs who again did not get back to him.

That day, 16 September 2020, Jacobs had been among a top-level police delegation in Cape Town to deal with allegations of an increase of extortion in the city.

Kinnear was assassinated two days later.

In his affidavit, Lincoln said a lieutenant-general had conducted an investigation into the whole security matter and this “essentially exonerated me”.

Lincoln said that Sitole, “ostensibly not satisfied” with the outcome of that investigation, then appointed another lieutenant-general to do another investigation.

But Lincoln said this second lieutenant-general had not taken a statement from him, yet the resultant investigation report recommended that disciplinary action be taken against him.

In his affidavit Lincoln pointed to three senior colleagues – including Jacobs – as having “failed to fulfil their duties and responsibilities” in terms of Kinnear. 

“I am now the scapegoat instead of the three lieutenant-generals,” Lincoln said.

He reiterated that in approaching the Labour Court separately from Jacobs, it did not mean there was a separation in the hearing against them relating to the allegations they faced.

“The urgent application in the Johannesburg Labour Court by Jacobs seeks an order not to proceed with the disciplinary hearing on the basis of his protected disclosure which the SSSBC has set down for an inquiry,” Lincoln said.

“I seek relief that, notwithstanding whether my statements constitute protected disclosures or not, that an order should be granted to have a fair hearing before an independent chairperson appointed by the SSSBC.”

The whole Labour Court saga marks the second time this year that Jacobs has approached it.

In February, Jacobs approached the court because he had been the focus of a disciplinary hearing relating to allegations of personal protective equipment procurement irregularities involving the secret service account.

But claims had surfaced that three police officers steering that disciplinary process did not have security clearance and were therefore not legally entitled to have access to classified documents that were critical to the matter.

A criminal complaint over this was therefore lodged on behalf of Jacobs at the Silverton police station in Pretoria relating to the contravention of the Protection of Information Act and the Intelligence Act.

This derailed that disciplinary and Jacobs was later successful in his Labour  Court quest to have it halted. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    It is tragic that this internal armwrestling continues in the upper ranks of SAPS. It is clear who the good cops are. This internal battle needs to be resolved as soon as possible and the dishonest members of SAPS prosecuted together with the underworld criminals that they have been protecting.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    The disciplinary process of SAPS is flawed,it is open for manipulation.An independent institution with knowledge of police procedures needs to be created, who can without bias make decisions that are fair on the facts presented.Then maybe police top management will serve and not be factionalised

  • Jamie WHITELAW says:

    I,for one, am not at all clear who the “good cops”are and if in fact we have “good cops”in the very senior ranks!!. I get the impression that a new Commissioner of Police is urgently required and a complete overhaul of the Police Service should follow. The use of Army Ranks is way way out of date.

    • Charles Parr says:

      I agree completely with that. The SAPS needs a thorough overhaul and cleaning out from top to bottom and only people that want to serve must be recruited instead of people that need a salary.

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