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Axed detective boss Jeremy Vearey approaches the high c...

South Africa

SAPS IN CRISIS

Axed detective boss Jeremy Vearey approaches the high court again in ‘life and death struggle for survival’

Major-General Jeremy Vearey. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Jeremy Vearey, who was controversially fired from the police in May and who believes his life is in danger because of investigations into gangs and police corruption, has reapproached the WC High Court saying the province’s police boss has ignored aspects of an order to provide him with adequate security. Vearey also wants the court to rule that if he is not given security as previously outlined by the court, Provincial Police Commissioner Thembisile Patekile be jailed for 30 days.

The Western Cape’s former head of detectives, Jeremy Vearey, is still trying to get police bosses to provide him with what he believes is suitable and necessary security that a court has ordered be supplied to him.

It is the third consecutive week he is trying to do so.

Vearey, who is in hiding, on Tuesday reapproached the Western Cape High Court because he wants it to rule that Provincial Police Commissioner Thembisile Patekile is in contempt of court for failing to properly adhere to an earlier court order. (Contempt of court happens to be the reason why former president Jacob Zuma is now jailed.)

Vearey also wants the court to rule that if he is not given security as previously outlined by the court, Patekile be jailed for 30 days.

Western Cape police have previously declined to comment on Vearey’s security situation, saying the South African Police Service (SAPS) did not do so with individuals and would not deviate from this.

The SAPS has until 2pm on Thursday to notify Vearey’s legal representatives if they plan to oppose his application, failing which the unopposed application may proceed next week.

In the latest court papers, Vearey has refrained from mentioning his whereabouts, citing safety reasons.

“My right to dignity and life are under severe threat because of my duties and responsibilities which I exercised in the course and scope of my erstwhile position as a Major General and Provincial Head of detectives in the Westem Cape province,” he said in an affidavit in the fresh round of court action.

“I cannot expect the community leaders, my friends and colleagues to provide me and my family with safety/protection indefinitely until my protection has been reinstated.”

Vearey was found guilty of misconduct in May over Facebook posts of his which some police officers viewed as disrespectful to, among others, National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole.

At the end of May Sitole signed off on his dismissal.

Vearey, in his latest affidavit, said while still in the police service and due to threats to his life, managers had provided him with “four bodyguards and appropriate transport to secure my safety on a 24/7-basis”.

However, on 23 June, following his dismissal, Vearey received a letter from police saying his protection detail was being withdrawn within about a week.

He initially approached the Western Cape High Court earlier this month to try to have the security detail reinstated. 

On 15 July, the Western Cape High Court ruled in Vearey’s favour, saying that Sitole and Patekile must assign two tactical response team (TRT) members to Vearey.

It further ordered that when Vearey had to testify in court matters and when he travelled, they would, by prior arrangement, provide him with four TRT members. 

However, in Vearey’s affidavit in which he is pushing for contempt of court, he said that the morning after the order was made, a bodyguard told him there had been an instruction that “only two members may be deployed, that I am not allowed to be transported in a police vehicle and that they have no mandate to provide static protection at my residence 24/7. 

“They may only work normal shift hours and then had to leave.”

Vearey then stayed in hiding at a safe house with his family.

Vearey said that over the weekend of 17 and 18 July he had been in contact with the brigadier responsible for the TRT, who told him the police understood the court order and he would be provided with “two static guards at my residence and the four mobile members when so required”. 

Vearey said no one contacted him on Sunday, 18 July so he instructed his attorney to send a letter to the State Attorney.

“It was specifically recorded in [that] email that I am compelled to remain in hiding at a safe house paid for by friends and community leaders,” he said.

Vearey added that the State Attorney was also alerted to possible contempt of court action if he was not informed in writing that the court order would be properly implemented by 2pm on Monday, 19 July.

At 10.15am on 19 July the State Attorney, according to Vearey’s affidavit, replied that two TRT members would be provided for static protection at his home and four for when he travelled.

But hours later, at 2.49pm, Vearey reported to his attorney that: “Only two (2) TRT mobile members collected me at the safe house and upon arrival at my residence, no static TRT members were deployed.”

Another letter was sent to the State Attorney that afternoon saying, “We need clarity and that the only way to achieve that was for SAPS to compile a detailed protection scheme to be transmitted to the TRT members and to me before 14h00 on Tuesday 20 July.

Vearey said that on Tuesday, 20 July, again only two TRT members were available to transport him and no TRT members were deployed at his home.

He said adequate protection was especially necessary because he had needed to consult with members of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru).

Vearey is trying to overturn his dismissal from the police service, and the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council may proceed with an arbitration hearing into it this Wednesday and Thursday, 28 and 29 July.

Popcru is driving this matter, and this was why he needed to meet with its members.

Vearey, in his latest affidavit, said that he received an email from the State Attorney saying it had not received the arbitration bundles needed for the hearing this week.

“The effect thereof,” Vearey said, “is that SAPS will ask for a postponement of the arbitration for non-compliance with the pre-arbitration agreement.”

Meanwhile, Vearey said that on 21 July he was told that two static TRT members would be deployed to his house by 6pm and four would fetch and take him to his legal representative for a consultation.

But, he said, Patekile then contacted his legal representative saying a fresh threat assessment on Vearey must be done the next day to determine if threats against his life were still imminent.

“I find this extremely odd since [the brigadier responsible for the TRT] was alerted… that this urgent application for contempt would be filed the next day,” Vearey said.

He added: “No static protection was deployed from 18h00 to 6h00 (night shifts) since Thursday 23 July. Mobile protection was also inadequate.”

This caused delays in his preparation for the arbitration hearing into his dismissal, set to possibly be heard this Wednesday and Thursday.

“There is nothing short of a Court Order that will ensure my safety. I have exhausted all internal remedies – inter alia – by having obtained an urgent Court order, to no avail,” Vearey said.

“As stated in the above High Court application, I am not financially able to engage the services of private security agencies. I was unfairly dismissed from the SAPS and my salary was stopped.”

Daily Maverick previously reported that there were genuine fears Vearey’s life was in danger, especially when viewed in relation to what happened to his colleague Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, who was assassinated outside his Bishop Lavis home in Cape Town in September last year.

Vearey, in his latest affidavit to the Western Cape High Court, said an information note ahead of Kinnear’s murder, from November 2019, highlighted threats to their lives.

This information note said: “[According to a reliable source] there is a serious threat against the lives of General Vearey, General Lincoln, Colonel Kinnear and Captain Jeftha.”

“I stated in my founding affidavit before… that there is an orchestrated stratagem to get rid of me, Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs and Major General Lincoln for exposing corruption in the police and our diligence to eradicate gang activities.” 

General Lincoln referred to Anti-Gang Unit head Major-General Andre Lincoln, and Captain Jeftha was a reference to Captain Althea Jeftha who was deeply involved in underworld investigations.

The information note continued, alleging that: “According to the source four (4) foreign nationals (Bosnia) were recruited to take out (kill) the abovementioned officers because of a dispute General Lincoln and General Vearey had with Nafiz Modack

“Further information obtained from the source indicates that Nafiz Modack instructed these foreign nationals to deploy grenades at the homes of General Lincoln and Colonel Kinnear to eliminate them and send a message to any other police officers that come up against him. To the seriousness of this information innocent people may lose their lives (family or neighbours) if the main targets aren’t being dealt with.”

While the veracity of the information note is not yet clear, Modack is among those charged with Kinnear’s murder.

Aside from threats to certain police officers’ lives, Vearey also believed he and some former colleagues were being targeted for ulterior reasons.

In his latest affidavit he again stated that he believed he, Lincoln and Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs, who earlier this year was controversially transferred from heading Crime Intelligence, were being unfairly targeted.

All three (as well as Kinnear) investigated how police officers were allegedly involved in getting firearms to gangsters.

“I stated in my founding affidavit before… that there is an orchestrated stratagem to get rid of me, Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs and Major General Lincoln for exposing corruption in the police and our diligence to eradicate gang activities,” Vearey said.

“I further submitted that the inference cannot be excluded that the purpose of withdrawing my protection is to discourage me from testifying in the high-profile criminal matters scheduled to take place because of my investigations and/or investigations that I had mandated.”

Earlier this month Vearey issued a statement while in hiding.

“I have lived an underground existence before while in MK (Umkhonto weSizwe) and the ANC’s Department of Intelligence and Security under apartheid. I will continue to do even more so now to protect my family,” he said.

“This is about a life and death struggle for survival against the politics of organised crime, and will be responded to accordingly, SAPS protection notwithstanding.” DM

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  • General Veary is staging a fightback,only the 3 blind mice in the song won’t see what is happening here,dark forces are at work,because the GUN RUNNING must be defended in its lucrative entirety and also protect those involved.I understand his terminology as regards “a life and death struggle”because that is basically is what it is.

  • Veary became steeped in the Cape Flats gang scene in the early nineties as part of the ANC campaign. Apart from featuring as a Madiba bodyguard, Veary has spent his career ‘fighting’ the Cape Flats gangs in senior police positions with no success at all. In fact the situation just gets worse. Maybe he is the only decent guy around, but I find that difficult to believe. His behaviour comes across as immature & often verges on personality disordered.

    • Factually you are wrong, he has sent away a couple of high profile criminals, for example, Geweld Thomas. Fighting gangs effectively you first have to lift the cape flats out of abject poverty .It is not just quick, quick you sort out gangs. You see him as personality disordered ,I see him as focused. He has lived there, I have worked there ,it is no joke, go read the membership totals of these gangs. They are linked with international syndicates, they fight and think outside the box. They have top advocates and lawyers. His effort has been commendable, he is also thinking further ahead. Do research on the implications of this gun smuggling operation and you will see what is at stake. It is important that he testifies.

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