D-day for Phiyega draws nigh

2017-01-10 05:45

Suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega has three weeks left before she has to submit her case to convince President Jacob Zuma not to fire her.

Phiyega will be challenging the findings of Judge Cornelis Claassen, who headed the board of inquiry that found her unfit to hold office.

Last month, Zuma gave Phiyega a month to make additional written representations to him, following the Claassen Board of Inquiry’s report.

The findings, a copy of which City Press has seen, states that “the argument by NC [National Commissioner] that she need not have been a fit and proper person shows a distinct lack of understanding of the importance of her position”, and that this had resulted in the board finding that “she was indeed not a fit and proper person to have been appointed as the National Commissioner of the SAPS [SA Police Service]”.

The report found Phiyega had not been “a satisfactory witness in all respects, although she did not mislead the Farlam commission of inquiry” about the existence of an extraordinary [police National Management Forum] meeting.

She was, however, “ambivalent and contradictory on the topic of whether or not the tactical option [to resolve the strike by workers at Marikana]” had been discussed.

Claassen found Phiyega’s “attempt to avoid taking responsibility for the conduct of the police at Marikana, by denying that she took the decision”, had tainted her evidence “to the extent that her credibility is in serious doubt”.

The report states that her contention that she was “not entitled to participate in such a decision while [being] in the jurisdiction of the retired Lt-General Zukiswa Mbombo in North West province”, was “disingenuous and somewhat facile”.

“This kind of evidence was not to be expected of such a senior officer in the SAPS,” the Claassen report said.

City Press learnt that Phiyega had appointed top Sandton law firm Werksmans to challenge the Claassen findings. She is also challenging the findings of the Farlam commission of inquiry.

Meanwhile, the families of those killed in the Marikana massacre are in for further delays in compensation, as a lack of funds has stalled the investigation.

City Press learnt that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate was “broke” and could not pay for some specialist aspects of the investigation.

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March 29 2020