Cele withdraws comment that axed top cop Jeremy Vearey ‘demonstrated a culture of impunity’

Police Minister Bheki Cele at a media briefing. Photo: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

  • Police Minister Bheki Cele has retracted comments about sacked Western Cape top cop Jeremy Vearey.
  • In a written parliamentary response, Cele claimed Vearey’s conduct demonstrated a culture of impunity.
  • Cele has written to Parliament’s bosses, retracting the response.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has backtracked on his assertion that axed Western Cape top cop Major General Jeremy Vearey demonstrated a culture of impunity.

In a letter dated 22 December 2021, Cele informed acting secretary to Parliament Baby Tyawa that he was retracting his reply to a written parliamentary question from EFF MP Henry Andries Shembeni, who wanted details on the impact of Vearey’s axing.

Cele said it had been brought to his attention that the matter had been referred to the Labour Court.

In his original reply, Cele said Vearey’s conduct, which led to his dismissal, was irresponsible and damaging.

Furthermore, Cele believed Vearey had shown no remorse for his deeds, and in his view, refused to step up, own up and take responsibility for his actions.

The written response was undersigned by both Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole.

Axed Western Cape cop Major General Jeremy Vearey.

Deon Raath

Shembeni’s question to Cele, and the subsequent reply, was made available by Parliament on 20 December.

In his letter to Tyawa, Cele said: “Further to the above, it has come to my attention that the matter of Major General Vearey’s dismissal has been referred to the Labour Court. A full and comprehensive response will be provided on the conclusion of the Labour Court process. Your understanding in this regard is appreciated.”

Vearey was fired after an “expeditious” disciplinary process, which was held between April and May 2021.

It was found he had brought the police into disrepute in his posts on Facebook.

At the time, the police said some of his posts were directed at Sitole and “contained words that were considered derogatory, offensive, insulting, and disrespectful”.

It also argued that Vearey’s actions were considered as misconduct and therefore warranted a departmental action.

Eastern Cape police commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga – who chaired the disciplinary hearing – recommended that Vearey be dismissed.

READ HERE | Ex-top cop Jeremy Vearey’s dismissal is ‘fair’, bargaining council finds

Vearey was the Western Cape’s deputy provincial commissioner responsible for crime detection.

Subsequent to Vearey being found guilty and being dismissed in July, he referred his matter to the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) for resolution.

The SSSBC found Vearey’s posts and comments had brought the police into disrepute.

In November, the arbitrator dismissed his application and found his dismissal was substantively fair.

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