Phiyega: Don't be sorry

2012-08-20 09:43

Johannesburg - Police officers should not be sorry about the shooting near the Lonmin Platinum mine in Marikana, Rustenburg, which left 34 protesting miners dead, police commissioner Riah Phiyega said, according to a report on Monday.

"Safety of the public is not negotiable. Don't be sorry about what happened," Phiyega was quoted as saying by the Sowetan newspaper.

She was speaking at policeman Warrant Officer Sello Ronnie Lepaku's funeral on Sunday.

Lepaku was one of the officers who was killed, allegedly by protesting Lonmin miners last Monday.

On Thursday, 34 striking workers were shot dead in a clash with police near the mine in an attempt to disperse them from a hilltop where they had gathered.

"We confront, every day, heartless criminals who are gunning for our lives," she said.

Phiyega urged police officers to be cautious and vigilant and to wear bullet-proof vests, shields and helmets at all times.

"You can put yourselves in danger a thousand times and come out unscathed or just once and not make it. You never know in advance how things will turn out and that is our line of work."

  • mofstok - 2012-08-20 09:45

    Respect, commissioner.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-08-20 10:05

      Yeah, can only agree wholeheartedly. People saying its devoid of humanity clearly are quick to forget that two officers were killed earlier in the week. Whats your take on that? To win, force must be met with force. The miners came armed, the police did what they needed to do to protect themselves. Job well done.

      jackal666.daniel - 2012-08-20 10:06

      Nice to have a commissioner with a spine!

      mofstok - 2012-08-20 10:18

      From the video footage and aerial photographs it is pretty clear to me that the police had no choice. Their hand was forced.

      paul.c.wadsworth - 2012-08-20 10:23

      Cops 35 Robbers 2 (FT)

      jacob.mphatswe - 2012-08-20 10:23

      Under the circumstances the timing of the speech is at best irresponsible and insensitive.

      jackal666.daniel - 2012-08-20 10:24

      Very true mofstok! If I had a gun and someone came running up to me swinging a panga I'm going to use it! Especially if they already killed 2 of my colleagues

      mofstok - 2012-08-20 10:26

      I'd say it is very sensitive to the brave law enforcement officers who lost their lives trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement with this destructive mob of criminals. It is also sensitive to the officers who were forced to shoot their fellow South Africans because they had no choice.

      UNITY - 2012-08-20 10:31

      I am glad we have a woman police comissioner, and I commend her for speaking sense. I believe she has the support of this nation. The truth is clear and will come out. She had to attend the funeral of a butchered policeman!

      gerald.nchabeleng - 2012-08-20 12:12

      @ Jacob.mphatswe fully agree with you.

      tugwana.gwalagwala - 2012-08-21 16:27

      @Jacob & gerald, I wouldn't be surprised if both of you are smart criminals who don't carry knobkerries and spears but equally deadly!

  • JasonMichelle - 2012-08-20 09:48

    Job well done cops!!!

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-08-20 10:40

      I admire you Reah ! You are a great leader !

      QI - 2012-08-21 16:46

      .........and now the armed strikers, and their wives who went to support their husbands, are all crying and humbled and shocked. Shocked? Why were they armed if it was a peaceful strike? Why did they all rush forward to face the police if it was a peaceful strike? P-l-e-a-s-e!!! The Unions are entirely to blame for this unrest. If they had any 'balls' they would have negotiated on behalf of their members, not whipped them up into a frenzy and ruined their families, their future and our fragile Country's reputation!!! .....and all the while Mr Zuma was drinking Laurentina and enjoying his prawns, he was sooooooooooooo concerned about S.A.!!! Thank you Rhia Phiyega, you have the balls South Africa needs to sort out all this sh**!

  • jan.matsetela - 2012-08-20 09:52

    I wouldn't say that if i was in ur possition.

      wehan.victor - 2012-08-20 10:15

      Why not?

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-08-20 11:44

      Until the next innocent child is shot by the police, then everyone will be changing their tune. People have very short memories of Cele and his big mouth. This is a dangerous precedent being set by the commissioner. Our police do not need a second invitation to go gung ho on civilians. She should wait for the official report before gabbing. If it is found that the police should have acted with more restraint, then she will have egg on her face. And she may need to resign for advocation unnecessary killing.

      Roelof.Richter - 2012-08-20 21:33

      And that's why your n0t :)

  • mmuponisim - 2012-08-20 09:53

    People are crying for their husband and police commissioner phiyega is busy talking rubbish,shut up and respect who lost their lives.

      randall.j.coetzee - 2012-08-20 09:55

      Ag Shut up!

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-20 10:01

      And two police families are mourning the loss of their loved one after they were brutally hacked to death with pangas by illegal strikers. If you go looking for trouble don't cry when you find it. Well Commissioner Phiyega!

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-08-20 10:12

      Its funny really, because the fact is, if this was a peaceful picket, this wouldn't have happened. If these husbands and brothers had stayed at home instead of looking to intimidate, they wouldn't have been harmed. Two police officers were killed trying to diffuse the situation that the miners created, not the police. The police didn't come and shoot them at their own homes. These are the people who deserve to be mourned, not the idiots who think they can kill indiscriminately without any repercussions.

      netswera.livhuwani - 2012-08-20 10:13

      shut ure trap up.would it have been beter if those holigans killed 34 police officers?typical South African running away from the truth

      steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-08-20 10:13

      Maybe it's you that should shut up. I'm sure everyone deplores the loss of life. However, the police had to deal with a violent mob that were armed to the teeth and behaving in an extremely aggressive manner. A powder-puff approach by the cops would only have resulted in more chaos. Being armed and threatening can only bring about a strong reaction from the authorities. The question that needs to be asked, is where are the instigators in all of this. Yes, all the investigations under the sun won't bring back those that lost their lives, but those that spurred this on should be nailed.

      modise.kefhitilweleso - 2012-08-20 10:14

      So u want to tell us that those ten people who were murderded by miners including two policemen are not people?

      sam.lloyd.104 - 2012-08-20 10:32

      I am sorry for people who lost their lives but unfortunately in the real world you earn respect and definitely don't get it from killing 10 people including hacking two police officers to death and burning a security guard at the stake. Then after all this you storm the police with guns pangas rocks sticks and stones.

      Nicolaas - 2012-08-20 11:27

      @DOMPONISIM, Whe the hell do you not shut! These criminals were about to slaughter those police because they thaught they were invincable because of an idiot that calls himslef a sangoma! Tp Priya, please charge this stupid sangoma with crime against these mine workers as he surely got paid to make them believe that they can kill those poilceman and woman without being seen!

      lynda.manxiwa - 2012-08-20 11:50

      Clearly you do not value the lives of the two policemen who died earlier....those were fathers, sons, husbands and possible bread winners too. Piyega was speaking at one of the guy's funeral. If the police had decided to run from the armed miners they would have given their power to the wrong doers and I am glad I can still run to them for help.

      paul.oxley.520 - 2012-08-20 12:34

      The violent criminals bent on murder that were put down like rabid dogs deserve no pity. They were NOT "victims" as I hear some media spokesdroids referring to them. If the widows left behind had any shred of decency they would be apologising for the murderous actions of their husbands.

      maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-08-20 15:59

      I agree 100% what a stupid statement trying to win favour, there are 34 families without providers, it doesn't end with their family alone because of the unemployment many mouths are fed from one salary. Get a grip commissioner.

      Kwajo.m - 2012-08-20 16:53

      The General’s comment is very very cold. I find the comment inhuman. It does not need a highly intelligent person to take care of public trust and confidence. I find the comment being very strong and unhealthy. the situation at the mine was unfortunate event to have happen. The General need to retract her statement. She must visit Rustenburg, and tell those words to the widows of the mine workers in their face.

      attie.stone.3 - 2012-08-20 17:21

      I think people are crying much more about the free rein the criminals are having in this country & to see such a reaction by the police against armed aggressive men is actually hope by the people supporting the police action that maybe violent & aggressive actions by whoever, will be seen by the authorities to be totally unacceptable in the future.

      Perfume5 - 2012-08-22 15:33

      @mapepaki..I don't think the Commissioner is trying to win anyone's favour. These miners were hellbent on killing. Prior to the fatal day they had already brutally killed 10 innocent people. They then decided to approach a deceitful sangoma, paid R1000 to be made invincible and the sangoma told them the bullets will bounce off them. Their intention from the onset was to kill, if what the deceitful sangoma predicted was true, today we would be reading that 34 policemen(women) lost their lives. Footage shows us that these miners were armed with pangas, knobkerries et al, that means they were prepared to draw blood or to murder!!

  • flysouth - 2012-08-20 09:56

    I am beginning to like what I am hearing from this lady.

  • riaan.croucamp.3 - 2012-08-20 10:00

    Amen sister

  • FeebleGastro - 2012-08-20 10:05

    She loves her uniform as much as Selebi an Cele did. These civies, or as they used to say, "haasmanne (vroue?)", sure go mad for a uniform.

  • rydalj - 2012-08-20 10:06


  • ringetadaniel.mashimbye - 2012-08-20 10:06

    Yes, It was a self defence. I saw protestors firing at police. Good wok Commissioner,.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-08-20 10:07

    Agree. No protestor, marcher or strike participant should be allowed any weapon or stone/stick in his/her hand. Never.

  • kaz.hse.7 - 2012-08-20 10:13

    While the loss of life is tragic to the family members who is left behind, as an ex-police officer I have much respect for the words uttered by Commissioner Phiyega. She made a decision which was in the best interest of her employees, as any superior should, and is sticking by her decision. I can say this much, no amount of training in the world can or will prepare you for what these policemen had to face. No amount of training in the world prepares you for the first time you are forced to pull that trigger while the firearm is pointed at another human being. It's easy for everyone to sit here and side with either of the views on this situation; I would just caution you though. If you were there, you have the right to crucify the police officers, in the same instance, if you were there; you have a right to make them heroes. From what I have seen and read, I would most probably have also decided to save my own life. However, I wasn't there, I wasn't the one being charged towards, I wasn't the one thrown into the situation. I am however 100% certain that this will become a political football, someone is going to get blamed and it's not going to be the Unions, it is not going to be the Government. Those who carried out orders will be left hanging I’m afraid...

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-20 10:30

      The might try to blame those who carried out the orders but they will never be able to determine which police officer actually killed a miner.

      kaz.hse.7 - 2012-08-20 10:37

      Sadly, forensics will. A specific weapons is signed out / assigned to a specific member. As you well know, the bore on the barrel will uniquely identify each weapon. It might a little more tricky where multiple gunshots are involved. What gets me is where the ICID has already decided they will not be checking for residue on the hands of the police officers. What about those who did not shoot? This means they will not be ruled out as "suspects" during the investigation.....

  • iceman196 - 2012-08-20 10:14

    100% stuff this ancyl and its followers and there violent mindset

  • neil.swart - 2012-08-20 10:15

    Salute Commisioner! Although I do in some way understand the plight of these striking miners, I do not agree with the way they are going about to voice their greviances! 10 innocent people had to pay with their lives, and yet we must feel sorry for the people who commited these senseless murders! Another 2 police officers lost their lives by the hands of hijackers this weekend. Are we going to hail these hijackers as heros as well? It is time people from the top get behind our boys in blue and support their efforts. There are alot of them who still do their work to the best of their ability.

  • netswera.livhuwani - 2012-08-20 10:19

    Job well done to the man and woman in blue, if the situation arise again do the same, you also are human beings with families and you have a right to defend yourself from dangerous, ill disciplined, uneducated, ignorant and ruthless cowards that are threatening your lives. again well-done. Good work, that’s what we pay you our hard earned tax money for. keep it up Piyega don’t retreat from your words. The constitution of this country is fully behind you.

  • comrade.shefu - 2012-08-20 10:20

    Thanks Riah ,Policemen are also people they need protection from armed thugs.

  • allen.visser - 2012-08-20 10:20

    I support how the Police acted, all they way. No matter how disgruntled you are, you dont shoot at the police. The Police acted appropriately. We the public, salute the police officers involved for their bravery, and take our hats off to their fallen...

  • - 2012-08-20 10:24

    Much respect lady! Finally somebody who understands that the loss of innocent life is not something to be scoffed at...

  • Brad - 2012-08-20 10:25

    WELL DONE RIAH!!! for standing up for you fellow SAPS. My perception of your appointment is shifting, and for the better.

  • pieter0827006294 - 2012-08-20 10:26

    Hear hear! I agree with her and she should be commended for standing up and backing the police involved, instead of giving in to political pressure!

  • will.cronje.7 - 2012-08-20 10:27

    I love this woman! Strikers have been screwing the economy for long enough. I hope the Lonmin incident serves as a warning to everyone. All of us had enough of crime and the BS we have to face everyday!

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-08-20 10:27

    As a so called freedom and liberation party the ANC taught people to be violent in trying to get what they wanted and this has now become a way of life for the multitudes of workers. When their demands are not met they turn to violence and destruction and threaten more and more. Now when the police act against the behaviour all blame is placed on the defenders of the peace the police. Unions for too long have held sway with little or no blame attached when property is damaged and destroyed by unruly workers. While I have sympathy for the families of those killed also believe the time has come to place more control on the unions who continually cause major disruptions in the workplace.

  • Ina - 2012-08-20 10:28

    Firm leadership! Great, that is what this country needs. We are behind you on this one Commissioner.

  • magomarele - 2012-08-20 10:30

    Fully agree! Safety of our police officers and the public is not negotiable. SA is a democracy and freedom entails responsibility. No police officer should die in the hands of criminals whilst carrying a gun.

  • joe.peters.56 - 2012-08-20 10:32

    Vote DA

  • joe.peters.56 - 2012-08-20 10:33

    Vote DA

  • livhuwani.tshisa - 2012-08-20 10:34

    She is strong! General Victoria Phiyega

  • tiaan.truter - 2012-08-20 10:42

    Respect...but does our commissioner walk the walk like she talks the talk (hope i said that right lol)

  • - 2012-08-20 10:43

    M so glad that Limpopo has produced a Top cop Comisioner, u go girl Phiyega, job weldone, put Limpopo on the map of SA

      scaztanza - 2012-08-20 10:54

      @rikhoula Shut up its not about where she comes from you moron!

  • joyce.beeton - 2012-08-20 10:48

    I totally agree - the police have a very difficult job on their hands dealing with people who seem to be pre-disposed to violence! One can only imagine the trauma the police encounter when faced head-on with hundreds of people armed with sticks, knives,spears and pangas and who have proven they do not hesitate to use them!! These "traditional weapons" should be banned. No one in society is allowed to strut around wearing a gun holster. Protesters should not be allowed to carry knives of any description. Unions should dismiss any of their members carrying any type of weapon. It's about time the masses had respect for the rule of law. Unions must learn to control their members and be accountable for their actions. Wherever and whenever they protest there is always collateral damage and they always deny responsibility. Unions should also realise that times are tough economically and nobody "demands" jobs or salaries - to just have a job is a blessing and is better than no job at all. There are highly qualified people with degrees who could, in better times, earn a fortune but they are desperate enough to work for far less. What is more, government needs to take the lead in not "awarding" themselves increases at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rassiee1 - 2012-08-20 10:51

    i love this new police commissioner.

  • buddynorm.malope - 2012-08-20 10:55

    Mbeki was a peace negotiator ,in Zimbabwe, now is Zuma, African Union requested peace maker and negotiations In Libya but the failed and UN stepped in , they took charge military resolution was taken, now what happening in Syria currently. Leaders are failing to communicate/negotiate. what happen on Thursday it should have been avoided. If Libyans were armed then ,we knew the result of sending military.

  • manu.dibango.96 - 2012-08-20 11:27

    Lord have mercy. Has everybody gone mad? A police commissioner is telling her officers that they should not be sorry that they killed 112 protestors, killing 34, and you all think that this is a good thing? What is the objective here, to fashion police into colded killers? This should be a time for introspection and soul searching. My message to the officers would be that a tragedy happened last week and that policing as we know it (or should know it) failed catastrophically, and that response to such situations will have to be reevaluated in future. When you kill someone whether right or wrong you should always be sorry!!! It's a quality that distinguishes us from animals. But to set such a low standard for police or for society to have such a low expectation of them is frightening to say the least. My advice to the lady is that after the events of last weeks SA police need a more human face ... not less.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-08-20 11:29

      Correction A police commissioner is telling her officers that they should not be sorry that they shot 112 protestors, killing 34

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-08-20 12:37

      Correct. People are applauding the commissioner's misguided comments because of ripe emotion. They are so fickle that they will call for police to be disciplined when some innocent bystander is shot by the police.

      mbambo.shi - 2012-08-22 15:36

      @ Manu, if your patner (wife or husband) got stabbed in front of you by criminals, you're armed /gun/ and you're in line (next) to suffer the assault, what would you do??. (a) Run away for your life?? or (b) Shoot yourself to avoid the pain?? or (c) Shoot the bustard to protect yourself and partner??. If you chose (a) or (b), you don't have ballz //backbone//, take a rope for heaven's sake.

  • justin.massyn - 2012-08-20 11:53

    Respect for coming out and supporting your team ma'am. You made it clear you took charge and made a dicission, albiet a very difficult one, frought with potential controversy, but you stood up and did something. Again, much respect to you!

  • marlize.horsford - 2012-08-20 11:54

    I fully agree

  • tersssia.b - 2012-08-20 12:04

    At long last, somebody in the SAPS who is not afraid to stick to her "guns". How much more must the police tolerate?????

  • gerald.nchabeleng - 2012-08-20 13:17

    Having read the comments here i must say i am not surprised Julius Malema is so popular... Stupid sees, stupid does the police comissioner, of all, tell the police not to be sorry, esp at the funeral of one of the police...that is reckless incitement a million times worse than what Malema did over the weekend. Of course she feels they should not be sorry, that is fine, but now say it so that it gets printed in newspapers. And you lot here applauding her for this...You are all as insensitive as she! We cry for all human life...miner and cop alike, and we are sorry for it all, we do not draw distinction between the life of a cop and a miner, this unfortunate incidence is a travesty to all involved. The minister needs to keep a cool head and apologise for all loss of life and show remorse even though she does not feel the police was wrong. It is human decency. All Malema needs to do now is print this article together with your comments and distribute them...

  • johannes.motlhajoe - 2012-08-20 14:53

    This woman is ruthless I doubt she has kids or family,just wish one day they kill her children or husband,so she can feel the pain,this is not a good words to prove your point,I wonder how she sleeps at night,but one day she gonna answer for all this in heaven,God is great

      fanyana.cele - 2012-08-20 16:01

      what do you think should have happened.You never said anything when a police was killed by the very same people.Police are killed almost every month or is it because they dont have kids/husband/families as your comment suggests.Those people provoked the police and they had to defend themselfs.I would have done the very same thing if I was in their shoes.NO APPOLOGY.

      yanga.dlokolo - 2012-08-20 16:05

      ...if her husband or kids are stupid enough to fight police with panga demanding 300% wage increase, then they will get killed.

  • samuel.weller - 2012-08-20 16:28

    Respect NASCOM, but when all is said and done and the so called investigation takes place I hope you will still be in the front lines with the words "Safety of the public is not negotiable. Don't be sorry about what happened" these members will still need your support in the future!!!!!!!!

  • Kwajo.m - 2012-08-20 16:45

    The General’s comment is very very cold. I find the comment inhuman. It does not need a highly intelligent person to take care of public trust and confidence. I find the comment being very strong and unhealthy. For someone in her position to stand up and say the event that have at the mine was unfortunate to have happen. I mean both police and the community lost the bread winners, fathers, brothers, sisters and sons. I think the General need to retract her statement. It does not build anything at all. She is now a top cop and need to nurse that position to heal itself as we have not forgotten what top cops end up doing.

      tugwana.gwalagwala - 2012-08-21 16:30

      They should have thought of that before attacking armed police. I only pity those who were innocently caught in the crossfire.

  • mmotsamai - 2012-08-20 17:08

    it seems that we have forgoten that these minners killed our officers and they also killed innocent people, coupled with that, this is the same union that raped women who would not join them

  • leviy - 2012-08-20 20:41

    live by the sword die by the sword....we can only to GOD TO GIVE THEIR FAMILIES STRENGTH TO GO ON...we all have choices in life.they made can take a donkey to a well but u wont force it to drink from it.we can only advise them to protest peacefully at the end its up to them to choose*our deepest sympathy to the families.

  • buwaz - 2012-08-21 07:48

    Wow did the General said police should wear shields and Helmet all the times? Does it mean no more cap and Berets now? How many police have a proper bullet proof? How many police have those Helmets? I think the General should first check her logistic before scoring points,instructing police to patrol wit blue lights on ist not putting them on danger? I'm just asking.

  • omega.maphanga - 2012-08-21 08:50

    well done SAPS, my God bless them we dont need violence in our country

  • Kwajo.m - 2012-08-21 18:56

    The comment from the General was very cold to have come out from a leader. This reminded me of the comment made by Mr. Kruger, Jimmy Kruger on the death of Steve Biko in police custody. The general comment made her a killer also. The General must withdraw her staktement.

  • mbambo.shi - 2012-08-22 15:18

    When you draw a weapon (considered it can take a lifE, i.e. Gun, Knife, Knobkery, etc), police offices "Law Enforcers", cannot look away or run for their life if armed. Their life were at risk at Lonmin, hence they had no choice but to do what they did in the interest of the nation, their families and colleagues. Let's look on the bigger picture.

  • maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-09-01 18:00

    This was on 14 days ago why are you dragging up stale news , we are in the here and now, waiting with bated breath to see the outcome of the next fiasco.

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