Phiyega starts giving evidence

By Drum Digital
14 March 2013

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega started giving evidence before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Thursday morning.

Dressed in a black skirt-suit, Phiyega took her seat shortly after 9.30am in the Rustenburg Civic Centre and was sworn in by the commission's chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam.

On Thursday, the civic centre was the fullest it had been the whole week, and more people were still arriving.

Phiyega would give evidence on the role played by the police in the events leading up to and on August 16, when 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 injured when the police opened fire on them 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.

Phiyega outlined her education and degrees and the areas of management for which she is responsible.

Advocate Ishmael Semenya, for the police, told the commission Section 207 of the Constitution gives the president the power to appoint a man or woman as national police commissioner to control and manage the SA Police Service (SAPS).

"Were you appointed by the president as national police commissioner?" Semenya asked Phiyega. She responded in the affirmative.

Semenya went through the duties, responsibilities, powers, and the role of the national police commissioner.

According to the Constitution one of the roles of the police was to prevent, combat and investigate crime, he said.

Phiyega agreed that one of the roles of policing was to respect various fundamental rights, including the right to protest peacefully and unarmed.

Semenya indicated he would deal with Phiyega's statement at a later stage and first wanted to deal with other issues.

The hearings continue.

-by Sapa

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