Another difficult day for Phiyega

2013-04-03 17:12

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National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega faced another difficult day in which she had to explain why she had not mentioned damaging allegations made by a police officer in her statement before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Phiyega, in her third week on the witness stand, was also quizzed today about differences in two statements her legal team submitted before the commission.

Human Rights Commission lawyer Gcina Malindi asked Phiyega why she had not mentioned allegations made by Warrant Officer Wouter Myburgh, who alleges in a statement that he had seen an officer shoot an injured protester in cold blood at Marikana on August 16.

Phiyega said she had not included the allegations because Myburgh had made a statement which had been submitted to the commission and that she had asked the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to investigate the matter.

She said because of this, she assumed the matter was already known.

Malindi also asked Phiyega why police had not made any contingency plans to deal with the Marikana strike, even though they knew that there had been cases of intimidation, attempted murder, assault and murder in the wake of a strike by Impala Platinum workers in the Rustenburg area between January and July last year.

Phiyega argued that the Impala strike, in which at least four people were killed, was not “a carbon copy” of the Marikana strike.

Lonmin lawyer Schalk Burger SC quizzed Phiyega on why she had not initialled a page containing crucial evidence in her statement and why her subordinate had acted as a commissioner of oaths on her statement.

Phiyega said the failure to sign the page was an omission and that she had later been given the statement to sign after it had been brought to her attention that she had not signed the page.

The hearing continues.

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