Phiyega quizzed over sangoma killing

2013-04-05 14:41
Riah Phiyega (Picture: Mary-Ann Palmer)

Riah Phiyega (Picture: Mary-Ann Palmer)

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Rustenburg - The possible involvement of police in the killing of a Marikana sangoma was raised in the Farlam Commission's public hearing in Rustenburg on Friday.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega was asked whether she was aware of allegations that the sangoma was shot dead with a police-issued R5 rifle.

Phiyega said she was.

Dali Mpofu, for miners involved in a shooting in Marikana on 16 August last year, commented: "Well, [the fact that a police rifle was used] raises a possibility that the sangoma was killed by police."

Phiyega replied: "I don't know of [that allegation] but what I know is that a man was killed with an R5. A case number has been issued."

"If there's a police officer involved in the killing of any person, the matter will be investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)."

Police spokesperson Makhosini Nkosi said on Tuesday police were investigating claims that the rifle belonged to police.

The sangoma, Alton Joja, aged 69, was at his home in the Ludeke Holt village in Mbizana on 24 March when five men armed with pistols and rifles entered his homestead.

They shot him when he approached their car to ask what they were looking for.

They fled the scene and their car was later found abandoned and burnt out with the rifle inside.

Joja died on arrival at a local hospital.

The Farlam Commission heard last month that Joja was believed to have performed rituals on protesting Lonmin mineworkers before the shooting on 16 August, during which 34 of them were killed.

Police had been trying to bring the sangoma to testify before the commission.

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