'I did not laugh': Phiyega

By Drum Digital
14 March 2013

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega on Thursday denied she laughed and joked while footage of the August 16, 2012 Marikana shooting was being shown to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

"That was personally a very hurtful observation. It is not only inhuman, it is totally out of my personal character and not true," Phiyega told the commission.

"I reject that with every part and measure of my being... What happened that day [August 16] is regrettable."

Phiyega was responding to a report in the Times in October that she joked with a state law adviser while a prelude to the killings was being screened.

She said reading the reports was hurtful and that nobody's name should be "dragged" like that "for no reason".

Phiyega started giving evidence on Thursday morning on the role played by police in the events leading up to and on August 16, when 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 injured when police opened fire near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana.

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

The commission heard that Phiyega called the minister of police on August 16 to inform him about the shooting and tell him she would "attend to the matter personally".

"The events at Marikana in August 2012 are of concern to me as well," she said.

Phiyega said the events of that day had no place in the country's history.

The hearing continues.

-by Sapa

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