Call for probe into senior cop after attempt to 'intimidate' reporter
A "clear attempt to intimidate" the Sunday Times has led to a call by the Western Cape community safety MEC for an investigation of two senior police officers.
Alan Winde has asked police minister Bheki Cele to suspend Maj Gen Jeremy Vearey, and Lt Col Charl Kinnear pending a probe by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
Winde wrote to Cele and Ipid head Robert McBride on Thursday, saying Vearey appeared to have lied in a complaint to the press ombud's office about Sunday Times reporter Aron Hyman.
Vearey, the Western Cape deputy commissioner for crime detection, and Kinnear, a member of the anti-gang unit, accused Hyman of entrapment in his attempts to obtain a copy of an affidavit Kinnear signed when he lodged a criminal complaint against several crime intelligence officers.
The affidavit had already been leaked to the Cape Times, which ran a story on it.
After TimesLIVE posted a recording of a telephone conversation between Hyman and Vearey that undermined the officers' complaint to the ombud, it was withdrawn.
In his letter to Cele and McBride, Winde said: "Vearey appears to have been caught in a blatant lie, bringing his own integrity and the integrity of the police into question."
This was "a clear attempt to intimidate the media, which should be allowed to conduct itself without fear of false accusation by top police officers", said Winde.
The ombud complaint also appeared to be designed to deflect attention from serious charges of high-level police corruption raised in Kinnear's affidavit.
"It is evident that there is growing rot in the Western Cape arm of the national police service which needs to be rooted out," said Winde. "The alleged actions of these officers casts a dark shadow over the SA Police Service, bringing [it] into disrepute."
Cele's spokesperson, Reneilwe Serero, said the ministry of police had received Winde's letter.