IPID briefs MPs on Riah Phiyega charge

Riah Phiyega during the Farlam commission. (Oupa, Nkosi, MG)

Riah Phiyega during the Farlam commission. (Oupa, Nkosi, MG)

Criminal cases have been opened against suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega and former North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo for allegedly obstructing the Farlam Commission of Inquiry’s work into the Marikana shootings.

Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) acting head Israel Kgamanyane told MPs on Tuesday that in September, investigators registered cases of defeating the ends of justice against Phiyega and Mbombo.  

This related to their alleged contravention of section 6(2) of the Commissions Act. Their dockets had been handed to the National Prosecuting Authority and more charges could be added as the investigation continued.

The IPID was briefing Parliament’s police committee on the implementation of the Farlam commission’s recommendations.      

The inquiry, to be chaired by Judge Cornelis Johannes Claassen, would start on May 3 and run until June 10, and be held at the Law Reform Commission offices in Centurion. 

The commission, headed by retired judge Ian Farlam, investigated the killing of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana, Rustenburg, on August 16 2012.     

In January, a case was opened against Brigadier Ledile Malahlela for his alleged contravention of the Protection of Information Act. A case of defeating the ends of justice was opened against General Ganasen Naidoo.     

President Jacob Zuma suspended Phiyega on October 14 last year over allegations of misconduct.

In its report released last year, the Farlam commission recommended that Phiyega face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

“The leadership of the police, on the highest level, appears to have taken the decision not to give the true version of how it came about that the ‘tactical option’ was implemented on the afternoon of 16 August and to conceal the fact that the plan to be implemented was hastily put together without [public order policing] inputs or evaluation,” the report reads.     

Questioned at the commission, Phiyega was at times evasive and stonewalled attempts to get information out of her. Asked about a planning meeting she attended on August 15, Phiyega said she did not have a photographic memory and could not remember “pedantic details” about what was discussed. – News24

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