Cops faced 33 000 public order protests in just three years – Phiyega

2013-03-14 13:08

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The SA Police Services handled more than 33 000 public order incidents in the three years between 2009 and last year.

This figure translates to more than 11 000 incidents per annum. This was evidence led by national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry today.

Phiyega, who took the stand this morning, said the police had dealt with 33 521 public order incidents between 2009 and 2012. She said 30 326 were peaceful, while the remainder, 3 195, were not peaceful.

“The vast majority of incidents are resolved without any loss of life. This is achieved through institutionalised operational procedures, carried out by trained and properly trained officers,” Phiyega said.

Phiyega said between 2010 and 2012 there were 907 attacks on police officers who were both on and off duty, and these attacks resulted in 174 killings of police officers.

Last year, sensational media reports claiming Phiyega laughed when the footage of mine workers being shot was played during the commission.

Today, through her lawyer, she spoke out against the reports, which she said were “personally a very hurting observation”.

“It is not only inhuman, it is totally out of my personal character and it is not true. It was very hurting because the person that I am, in a situation as this one, and in a responsible position that I’m in, could have laughed at such a situation, I reject that with every part of my body,” she said, adding that she sent her condolences to the bereaved and appealed for fair reporting by the media.

Human rights lawyer George Bizos objected to the procedure followed by police lawyer Ishmael Semenya in leading Phiyega through her statement.

Semenya read paragraphs of Phiyega’s statement and asked her to confirm the details, to which Bizos objected. But commission chairperson, retired Judge Ian Farlam, dismissed the objection.

The hearing continues.

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