The DA would this week make submissions to President Jacob Zuma motivating that National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega be summoned to an inquiry into her conduct in the death of 44 mineworkers at Marikana in North West in 2012 with a view to her being dishonourably discharged as South Africa’s top cop, DA spokesperson Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement.
“The DA believes that by ratifying and applauding the police action on the day [August 6 2012], Phiyega has unequivocally endorsed the lethal actions of the police at Marikana,” she said.
This came after Phiyega narrowly met the Friday midnight deadline to make representations to Zuma about her fitness for office as required by the Farlam Commission’s report on her conduct in the August 2012 massacre.
In her representations, Phiyega had effectively blamed her predecessor Bheki Cele for the militarisation of the SA Police Service (SAPS), which contributed to the death of 44 mine workers at Marikana, Kohler Barnard said.
“Whether or not this is true is irrelevant considering that she congratulated the SAPS for their actions on that day and publicly endorsed their conduct, which we contend makes her complicit in the SAPS’s actions. She cannot now distance herself ex post facto to save her own skin.”
Disregard for miners
Instead of admitting responsibility and stepping down, Phiyega’s response to the massacre had been one of disdain for the investigative process and disregard for the loss of life.
“The fact is Phiyega and others took decisions on that fateful day, which they knew would result in bloodshed, failed to stop the operation when the shooting had begun, left miners to die without medical help, congratulated the police for their tactics, and went to great lengths to mislead the Farlam Commission.”
The DA would therefore impress upon Zuma that her conduct in the Marikana saga and her “deplorable track record” as National Police Commissioner should see her fired.
“We will again stress the need to appoint a professional police officer who will be better suited to demilitarising and resourcing the SAPS rather than a recycled politician or loyal cadre. “If the President is at all serious about reviving a SAPS that is in rapid decline he will diligently apply his mind to these submissions.”
For too long South Africans had lived with a police service they could not trust. A police service that all too often turned on the very citizens they were duty-bound to serve and protect.
“The President needs to arrest the worsening state of affairs and give the people a competent police service and leadership thereof. One they can trust and value,” Kohler Barnard said. – ANA