Phiyega arrives at commission

By Drum Digital
14 March 2013

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega arrived at the Rustenburg Civic Centre on Thursday morning to give evidence before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

Dressed in a black skirt-suit, she took her seat shortly after 9.30am.

Advocate Ishmael Semenya, for the police, called her to give evidence.

Phiyega was sworn in by the commission's chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam.

She will give evidence on the role played by the police in the events leading up to and on the day of August 16, when 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were injured when the police opened fire while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near Lonmin Platinum's mine in Marikana.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

Phiyega is expected to shed light on various issues, including who told the police to use live ammunition on the protesting miners.

In October, George Bizos SC, for the Legal Resources Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation, told the commission the conduct of the police officers was "unique".

He said he and his team would lead evidence to prove that the shootings on August 16 were acts of revenge by police officers for the earlier deaths of their colleagues.

On August 17, Phiyega said the police had use "force to protect themselves" from the group of protesting miners, who refused to disperse peacefully.

At the time, Phiyega said that as commissioner she "gave police the responsibility to execute the task they needed to do".

-by Sapa

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