Phiyega: I didn't read the Marikana statement

It is unclear if police chief Riah Phiyega will take responsibility for the force's action in the Marikana shooting, the commission has heard. (Gallo)

It is unclear if police chief Riah Phiyega will take responsibility for the force's action in the Marikana shooting, the commission has heard. (Gallo)

It is unclear if police chief Riah Phiyega will take responsibility for the force's action in the Marikana shooting, the commission has heard.

Phiyega declined to say how she would deal with a finding that police used excessive force when shooting dead 34 striking miners at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on August 16 last year.

"I will deal with it when we get there," Phiyega told the Farlam commission on Thursday, adding that the outcome of the commission would determine how she handled the matter. "At this point in time, may I be allowed to not comment on that?"

It was Phiyega's third week of testifying at the commission's public hearings in Rustenburg.

She admitted that she did not read an affidavit, containing details of the police's role in the shooting on August 16 last year, she signed before a commissioner of oaths. "I do submit that I didn't read it because I thought I was simply correcting [an omitted initial]," Phiyega said.

Two affidavits were submitted by Phiyega's lawyers. Page seven of the first affidavit contained only the commissioner of oaths' initials.

The second featured both Phiyega and the commissioner of oaths' initials, but Phiyega said that copy was incorrect.

'It was the same statement'
Phiyega said what she signed before the commissioner of oaths on March 12 was a draft version of her statement, which she thought had been corrected and updated on March 7.

"For me, it was the same statement ... I looked at where I did not sign and I signed", she said.

Legally, Phiyega would have needed to be sworn in by the commissioner of oaths. Both of them would have needed to initial all the pages of the document after having read through it.

Phiyega said she and her lawyers had already informed the commission of this discrepancy. "I said to my lawyer that there's a discrepancy between my statement and one commissioned because one [of them] was just a draft," she said.

A paragraph on page seven of Phiyega's first affidavit, which she did not initial, stated: "On the afternoon of August 16 2012, I received a call from lieutenant general Mbombo who informed me of the decision to implement a dispersal operation of the plan."

False
The second affidavit, which contained Phiyega's signature, says: "On the afternoon of August 16th 2012, I received a call from Lieutenant General Mbombo who informed me of the decision to implement stage 3 of the plan, which information I relayed to the minister."

Phiyega said the contents of the second statement, which she had drafted, were false.

Schalk Burger SC, for Lonmin, asked Phiyega how she could have made such a mistake on her own draft. She replied that she typed the document, and forwarded it to her secretary. She was given a hard copy of her statement and realised it had errors about her communication with the minister.

Phiyega said she then made corrections on the hard copy itself and returned it for the changes to be made. – Sapa

 

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