- Supporters of axed policeman Major-General, Jeremy Vearey on Wednesday marched to Parliament, while others gathered at police stations, calling for his reinstatement.
- Vearey was fired last month after being found guilty of misconduct for “disrespectful” social media posts.
- An open letter, signed by St George‘s Cathedral Dean Michael Weeder, was handed over to a representative of the Presidency, calling for an inquiry into policing.
An open letter calling for the reinstatement of axed Major-General Vearey and the establishment of an inquiry into policing was handed over at Parliament for the attention of President Cyril Ramaphosa and National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise on Wednesday.
It said the “current form of political and criminal biased policing must be expeditiously stopped, otherwise the malaise of the police services and its increasing lack of legitimacy will continue”.
About 100 people gathered outside St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town for a march to Parliament where the open letter, signed by Dean Michael Weeder, was handed over to a representative of the Presidency.
Vearey was fired last month after being found guilty of misconduct for “disrespectful” social media posts, allegedly aimed at national police commissioner Khehla Sitole.
He was subjected to an “expeditious” disciplinary process over three days between April and May on misconduct charges for a series of Facebook posts, in which he predominantly shared links to news articles about the disciplinary action against former Crime Intelligence boss Peter Jacobs.
Benson Ngqentsu Western Cape SACP leader adresses the crowd outside parliament during the Hands Off Jeremy Vearey protest.
The police charged this had been intended to harm Sitole’s image.
Eastern Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga – who chaired the disciplinary hearing – recommended that Vearey be dismissed. Sitole endorsed the sanction.
According to Weeder’s letter, the call was for a “police service South Africans deserve”.
“Over the last decade, we have witnessed a culture of unbridled authoritarianism. It is evident in the systematic hounding out of the service of dedicated and committed police officials,” it read.
“The most recent example is that of the firing from the force of … Vearey. Let us not be deceived into concluding that this is part of an anti-coloured purge. In the dark hearts and minds of some, this may indeed be the bitter poison that fuels their actions.
“Instead, it is a red herring that potentially serves to draw our focus away from the fact that many of the victimised officers have been lifelong combatants in the fight for justice and against crime.
Supporters outside parliament during the Hands Off Jeremy Vearey protest.
“The beneficiaries of the absence of these persons from the fray are the country’s gang lords and their allies in SAPS, the Judases in our ranks who sell their souls and betray their fellow officers for bloodstained pieces of silver.”
According to Weeder, the “persecution of committed and reputable police leaders” had a direct implication for the safety of especially poor communities, where “crime and violence have reached pandemic proportions”.
He called on Ramaphosa and Modise to initiate an inquiry into policing, “its end purpose being a professional police leadership in line with the prescripts of the Constitution and our democracy and with the recommendation of the National Development Plan 2030 regarding policing”.
“We also seek the reinstatement of Jeremy Vearey and that the malicious prosecution against him and others be overturned.
“The current form of political and criminal biased policing must be expeditiously stopped, otherwise the malaise of the police services and its increasing lack of legitimacy will continue.
The Cape Coloured Congress during the Hands Off Jeremy Vearey Picket in Cape Town, South Africa.
“The persecution of former members of MK in the police service exposes a pattern of abusive power by many in leadership and suggest they have yet to fully embrace the values of our Constitution.”
Supporters also gathered at police stations across the province, brandishing placards reading “Ons is die moer in met corruption” and “Los vir Vearey af, in jou moer in”.
This was seemingly in response to his use of the term “moer hulle” in one of his flagged posts, which Ntshinga found was among those which made some officers feel afraid.
Vearey, in an interview following his dismissal, told eNCA his posts were deliberately misunderstood, to the denigration of his mother tongue, Afrikaaps.
He said the person who translated “Moer Hulle” into “F— them up” did it on purpose and that the post was to encourage his colleague, General Peter Jacobs, to be victorious in his own Labour Court case.