Phiyega's behaviour is inappropriate: DA

By Drum Digital
24 October 2012

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's reported behaviour at the Farlam Commission was inappropriate and insensitive, the DA said on Wednesday.

"This is not the first time Phiyega has shown utter disrespect for the families of those miners who were killed at Marikana," Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said in a statement.

"Shortly after the massacre, she commented at the funeral of one of the police officers killed at Marikana that the police 'should not feel sorry for their actions'."

The Times reported on Wednesday that Phiyega laughed and joked while footage of the killing of 34 miners in a clash with police was being screened at a commission hearing at the Rustenburg Civic centre.

Phiyega reportedly joked with a state law adviser while a prelude to the killings was being screened.

Surrounded by senior officers, Phiyega smiled as she watched.

It was only when screams of horror echoed across the room, as footage of the actual shooting was played without warning, that Phiyega's "humorous demeanour changed to that of an ice queen, blatantly ignoring the wailing families", according to the report.

Kohler-Barnard said the DA would write to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday asking that he tell Phiyega to make a public apology.

"This is not the behaviour one would expect from a public representative at a time which requires the utmost sensitivity and empathy for all who lost loved ones during that time," she said.

On August 16 police opened fire on a group of striking miners encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 and wounding 78. The workers, who wanted monthly salaries of R12,500, had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks, and iron rods.

-by Sapa

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