Scores of supporters of axed top cop Major-General Jeremy Vearey, the province’s deputy head of detectives and former Mitchell’s Plain SAPS cluster commander, marched and picketed last week, calling for his reinstatement.
Major-General Vearey, the provincial SAPS deputy commissioner responsible for crime detection, was fired for misconduct in terms of the SAPS disciplinary regulations, following Facebook posts published between December 2020 and February this year, which were labelled as “bringing the SAPS into disrepute” and “degrading” to National Police Commissioner Khehla Sithole.
Supporters picketed in front of various police stations in Cape Town and even in Pretoria last Wednesday, June 9, while a group of about 300 people marched to Parliament to hand over a memorandum. Others have signed an online petition calling on the president to open a public inquiry into SAPS and reinstate Major-General Vearey. The campaign hashtag is #JusticeforJeremy.
Abie Isaacs, chairperson of the Cape Flats Safety Forum, said they were also calling for a presidential inquiry into Major-General Vearey’s dismissal as well as a ministerial and portfolio committee on safety and security to vigorously engage on what is happening in SAPS.
“We firmly hold the view that the dismissal is much broader than just a dismissal. We hold the view that it is a cover-up (and) when we say a cover-up we need to acknowledge what’s happening in the courts currently. On that basis, as a forum, we have mobilised community members to support the picket,” he said.
In 2016 Major-General Vearey was involved in a major investigation into police officers who supplied thousands of weapons to gangsters in the Western Cape. These weapons, meant for destruction, had been sold to gang lords and had been linked to more than 1000 murder cases.
One of the picketers, Nadeema Petersen, said crime was rife and people were “dying like flies”.
“My grandchildren’s lives are at risk. We cannot undermine the safety and security of the community. The man’s work speaks for itself – we never had a general walking the streets before did we? The man has a right to defend himself,” said Ms Petersen.
Volunteer at the parliamentary constituency office, Alfred Manuel, said he supported the call to have Major-General Vearey reinstated.
“Comrade Vearey was a top man, he was a security (bodyguard) for Nelson Mandela; he was appointed in Mitchell’s Plain and he ran the police station perfectly. He had an interaction with the community which was excellent. We want people who are of class and do their jobs properly,” Mr Manuel said.
They had seen him at his job in the streets of Mitchell’s Plain, he said.
Reverend at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Atlantis, Nosey Peterse, said it was disappointing that “such a good cop is being treated so badly by a leadership that is not worthy to tie his shoelaces”.
Mr Peterse called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Police Bheki Cele to intervene. “This has to do with the crime and corruption of police, the involvement in gangsterism – it is an open secret. Jeremy and his colleagues have been fighting for the people. Hence you see them being isolated and dealt with by these apartheid cops,” said Mr Peterse.
“We need to get rid of these kinds of cops. The current leaders in the police cannot lead us,” he said.