Police commissioner Riah Phiyega should not be permitted to continue in her current role and should be dragged in front of an inquiry not only to explain her conduct during the Marikana massacre but also to account for the decline of the SAPS during her tenure, the Democratic Alliance believes.
And the investigation should not be limited to Marikana and the findings of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, but must include all her “failings”.
In a submission handed to President Jacob Zuma’s office on Tuesday, the DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard listed various reasons for Phiyega to be declared unfit for office using the findings of the Farlam Commission, including failing to provide leadership following the Marikana massacre in 2012.
“Of central importance to the public following the events at Marikana was the question of accountability in relations to the SAPS’s involvement. Key in uncovering the truth behind the events at Marikana was the full participation of the SAPS and the leadership of SAPS by the NPC in providing guidance so as to achieve accountability. As the commission illustrates at length, the SAPS’s conduct during the commission’s sitting spoke only of a lack of accountability,” the submission reads.
Addressing the media in Parliament on Tuesday, Kohler-Barnard, chief whip John Steenhuisen and Shadow Deputy Minister of Police Zakhele Mbhele said the safety of South Africans depended on the president firing Phiyega.
“She should not represent our police service and tarnish the good name of so many hardworking officers who themselves risk their lives to keep South Africans safe every day,” Mbhele said. Kohler-Barnard said over and above Phiyega’s conduct on Marikana, her record as a leader left a lot to be desired.
“Phiyega has nothing short of an abysmal record as the National Police Commissioner because she has time and time again demonstrated her complete inability to arrest the decline of the SAPS.
“Her tenure at the helm of the police service has been mired in controversy that has most likely stemmed from her incompetence as police chief to the detriment of the citizens whose everyday safety needs rely on a properly managed, trained and resourced SAPS.”
The party said instead of Phiyega admitting responsibility and stepping down, her response to the massacre had been one of disdain for the investigative process and disregard for the loss of life.
“This is a clear indication that she is not at all concerned about the bereft loved ones that were lost at Marikana and so many others who are killed at the hands of police across the country as they exercise their constitutional right to protest for better service delivery and living standards.”
SAPS spokesperson Colonel Vish Naidoo said they were not able to comment on the DA submission.