CAPE TOWN, Two police generals in Western cape Province have hailed their victory at the Labour Court which overturned their demotions and hope it will set a precedent for other police force members across the country.

Major-Generals Jeremy Vearey and Peter Jacobs were demoted from their high ranking positions last year without official reasons after they had been instrumental in fighting gang and drug related crimes — not only in Western Cape but across the country.

Gen Vearey, who was police head of detectives in Western Cape, and Gen Jacobs, then head of crime intelligence in the province, were both demoted in 2016, just after they had cracked what was dubbed the biggest gun smuggling investigation in the country.

Vearey said Friday: “What happened to us happens to many police officers lower down the ranks. However, for our union, Popcru, this is the first time that they have had a high profile case of this nature involving generals challenging the national top management on such issues.

“We want every single member in the South African Police Service (SAPS) — not only members of Popcru — whenever they face an arbitrary action by a manager, even though we are in a paramilitary structure, to be armed with this (court ruling).”

Vearey had suggested that some police officers were conspiring with politicians and gangsters in an ongoing attempt to derail critical investigations. The SAPS says it is studying the court’s decision and once this has been concluded, it will decide on its next step.

The Labour Court here found in favour of the two high-ranking Western Cape policemen on Thursday after they approached the court as they believed they were unfairly demoted. The court set aside their demotions on Thursday.

In June 2016, Vearey, who was then deputy provincial commissioner for detective services, was suddenly shifted to a position he had previously filled, commander of the Cape Town cluster of police stations. Jacobs, who headed the province’s crime intelligence unit, was appointed Wynberg cluster commander.

They found these moves unfair and, supported by the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), took the matter to the Cape Town Labour Court.

Major-General Patrick Mbotho replaced Vearey, while Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo replaced Jacobs. During the case, it emerged that Tiyo did not have the security clearance required for access to the sensitive information which he would need to do his job properly.