The Presidency has received a report into suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s fitness to hold office. The report was delivered to President Jacob Zuma by the chairperson of the board of inquiry, Judge Neels Claassen.
“President Zuma will study the report and its recommendations in order to take any necessary action,” the Presidency said in a statement on Wednesday.
The inquiry has reportedly said in its report that Phiyega is not fit to hold office and recommended that she should be dismissed. The board of inquiry was established after Phiyega was accused of misconduct during the Marikana massacre, where 44 people were killed. The presidency earlier told City Press that it had not seen the report because a date had not been set for representatives of the board of inquiry to brief Zuma on the findings and recommendations.
The Claassen inquiry wrapped up its work on June 3 after multiple calls were made for Phiyega’s removal from office. Zuma had asked that the inquiry be established after allegations emerged that Phiyega had misled the Farlam inquiry into the Marikana massacre.
The inquiry focused on the “tactical” decision made by the police commissioner which left 34 miners dead, whether Phiyega could have known that her decision would have led to the deaths in the massacre, the appropriateness of her remarks following the massacre and if her conduct at the Farlam inquiry was fit for her role in office.
The Mail & Guardian reported on Thursday that Phiyega had already filed court papers asking that the findings of the Farlam inquiry concerning her be set aside and reviewed.
She claims there are instances where the inquiry “cut and pasted” from the evidence leaders’ heads of arguments, and that her reputation has been affected worldwide as a result.
During the course of the Claassen inquiry, Phiyega was heavily questioned about her conduct during the Marikana protest, which, if she was negligent, could lead to charges of murder or culpable homicide. She was also accused of being untruthful to the inquiry.
The Presidency thanked Claassen and the rest of the board of inquiry for their work, but has not yet finalised a date on when they will respond to the findings and recommendations of the report.