SAPS vindictively hounding Jaco Bothma - PSA

Manie de Clercq says the former head of the firearms registry is being subjected to trial by ordeal

PSA opposes SA Police Service's vindictive actions 

The PSA (Public Servants Association of South Africa) has for a third time instituted legal action against the SA Police Service (SAPS) to protect the rights of a senior officer.

During early November 2010 various unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations were levelled in the media against the management of the SAPS Central Firearms Registry in an attempt to discredit it. The Head of the Registry, Brig Jaco Bothma, and a member of the PSA, was also implicated. The allegations against him related to a backlog in issuing firearm licenses and competency certificates and favouritism in considering, issuing and adjudicating over applications to benefit specific organisations and individuals.

He was also accused of having failed, since 2004, to put in place a system to process applications in a rational, transparent and non-arbitrary manner. Alleged corruption, kickbacks and bribery in the Firearms Registry were also raised. Brig Bothma and seven other senior officers were subsequently transferred as a punitive measure.

"The PSA immediately appointed a legal team to assist Brig Bothma in this unfair situation. On 19 November 2010, he was successful in his application in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, against the decision of the SAPS National Commissioner to transfer him laterally to a post in the North West Province. This, however, seriously offended the SAPS and on 10 December 2010, he was singled out and unfairly and unlawfully suspended based on alleged serious misconduct", said PSA Deputy General Manager, Manie de Clercq.

The SAPS instituted disciplinary action against Brig Bothma. The allegations against him and his suspension received extensive media coverage. "It is of grave concern that the SAPS management was silent throughout the process and dismally failed to protect the rights of the officer based on the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty'", said De Clercq.

The PSA's legal team again assisted and represented Brig Bothma during the departmental process and hearing, which saw the SAPS calling seven witnesses to testify on its behalf. Brig Bothma was, however, found not guilty on all charges.

Towards the end of August 2011 the SAPS, however, again informed Brig Bothma of the intention to transfer him to another position without providing sufficient justification for this. "The PSA again appointed a legal team to take urgent legal action against the SAPS. It is unbelievable how State funds are being squandered by the SAPS in an attempt to ‘get even' after having been found to have acted high-handedly on more than one occasion. This case has, however, set a clear precedent. The days are over where SAPS employees are transferred at random without their consent or fall from favour", said De Clercq.

Statement issued by PSA Deputy General Manager, Manie de Clercq, September 9 2011

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