Phiyega quizzed about expert witness

2013-03-25 21:01

Rustenburg - National police chief Riah Phiyega was questioned at the Farlam Commission on Monday about evidence given on behalf of the SA Police Service (SAPS) by an international crime expert.

Evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga read a statement by international law enforcement expert Cees de Rover about police officers' actions at Marikana, in North West, on 16 August.

That day, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were injured when the police opened fire while trying to disperse a group of striking mineworkers gathered on a hill near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana.

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

In his analysis, De Rover stated that after the initial shooting at what the commission has termed "Scene One", the commander should have called police officers to re-group and re-assess the situation.

"Problems with the analogue radio network conspired to prevent the overall commander to stay abreast of developments and to call a halt to police operations in a bid to re-group and re-assess.

"In the absence of a countermanding order, the implementation of the operation at scene two went ahead, with the on-scene commander unaware of the incidents that had just produced at scene one," De Rover found.

Madlanga said De Rover’s statement meant that if the on-scene commander had known the details of the initial shooting at scene one, the 18 who were killed at scene two would have survived.

"I read this [De Rover’s statement] to mean that had the overall commander followed all developments at scene one, he or she would have halted the [police] operation and the 18 people would not have died. Do you accept that?" Madlanga asked Phiyega.

"I don’t know," she replied.


After reading other extracts of De Rover’s analysis, Madlanga asked Phiyega whether she agreed that a commander who was in charge should have halted the police operation after the initial shooting.

Phiyega responded: "I said I do not know, because the commander is the person who can answer this."

Madlanga went on: "I am not asking you about your own knowledge. I am asking you about what the SAPS expert says.

"I am not asking whether you know for a fact what a commander would have done."

Speaking calmly, Phiyega insisted that she did not know.

Madlanga said: "National commissioner, what I am asking from you is meaning [of De Rover's statement].

"After your answers, I am confused at what your actual answer is. All I am asking for is meaning."

He told the chairman of the three-member commission, retired judge Ian Farlam that he was "confused by the lengthy and qualified responses" from Phiyega about "very simple questions".

Phiyega, in turn, said she was confused by Madlanga’s questions.

De Rover’s resume indicates that he has "over 25 years' of experience in policing and international developments".

He started off his career in the Dutch police force in 1980 and has worked with police forces in more than 60 countries.

In his analysis, he described himself as an independent expert and said his opinions were based on international legal standards which applied to law enforcement.

His submissions were made on behalf of the SAPS.

The public hearings continue on Tuesday.

  • Wisethee Madimetja - 2013-03-25 21:40

    Instant commander with no training.

      Kobus Hattingh - 2013-03-25 21:50

      I agree. They must not be too hard on her as she has got zero police experience or training. She is merely a Zuma appointee and that says it all...

      Godfrey Welman - 2013-03-25 21:55

      Cadre deployment, as the say being a good nurse does not automaticly make you a good mother.

  • Deon K. Alexander - 2013-03-25 21:42

    Q: how old are you. A: i don't know....(There are too many Trevor Noah's in this country !

      Godfrey Welman - 2013-03-25 21:57

      Its like running the clock down in rugby, moving with no intention of progressing.

      Fezile Russ - 2013-03-25 22:34


      Deon K. Alexander - 2013-03-26 13:18

      Q2:could you please tell this court your job description. A2:i don't know as I am only here for the money... ...(welcome to Zouthbabwe)

  • Jack - 2013-03-25 21:46

    Judge must please go easy. Is she good at quizzes? Find out first, before venturing into such dangerous territory.

  • Yoba Luwaca - 2013-03-25 21:49

    she does not know, i bet she does not know her job description

  • SharonE - 2013-03-25 21:59

    Though I appreciate that ms Phiyega has vast experience in the corporate sector, I cannot reconcile this experience with her current role as police commissioner. With SAPS infested with criminal elements, a no-nonsense career policeman with strong leadership qualities and a comprehensive understanding of the law is required. Fifty two million people in the country - surely there is one such person who can fix the SAPS!

      Jack - 2013-03-25 22:14

      There are many who could and still can. The objective, see, is to keep SAPS highly unstable, then, see, the criminals (white collar, blue collar, dirty collar) can do whatever they like. The guys that could were liquidated by Meyer Khan. Remember he only charged Mandela R1 for his expert service. That's because his true reward came from somewhere else. And we are still paying.

  • Deon de Lange - 2013-03-25 22:20

    Note to ANC: the reason the most senior officer in the SAPS - General (nogal) Phiyega - is unable to respond to simple questions about command and control is that she has ZERO police experience. But then Pres Zuma knew this and ignored all expert opinion against her appointment. But I guess that's the way he wants things - no impertinent police officer to question dubious policies eminating from Min Mthetwa's office. Self-serving political morons. Marikana blood is on ANC hands.

  • Lucastra Khezla - 2013-03-25 22:26

    Hahaha,this remind me of Mr Shower man(Zoomer) rape case.Is commisioner intelligent and honest enough?Insomnia to Mrs Phiyega,worried about tomorrow.

  • Danie Gerber - 2013-03-25 22:34

    It's a tragic shame...believe it or not!?

  • Mara Vermaas - 2013-03-26 05:15

    In all fairness to Ms Phiyega, the questions were not quite clear and at least she was honest.

  • Simphiwe Charlie - 2013-03-26 06:34

    All I know is that she was complicit in this tragedy. Now if they'd only ask her who gave her the order to stop this strike at any cost!

  • arthur.salvado - 2013-03-26 07:47

    Phiyega please do yourself a favour and get out. Go and do something you good at. As I understand it, there are many avenues open to you because I'm told you're an intelligent woman. Policing is NOT for you . I feel sorry that you were put in this position but must question your acceptance. Please GO. Let policemen do a policemen's job.

  • Uzziphathele KaSkhokho Tshabalala - 2013-03-26 08:08

    This position needs a qualified,experienced person to lead SA police,this is not just about Zuma,is about south africans safety and security of this country...

  • Skosana Mafika - 2013-03-26 08:11

    mama phiyega,resign and leave the job to the trained police and stop being used by zuma. you are destined for embarrasment. nice uniform but if i were u i will quit and stop lying to myself that i am qualified as the president deceived you. you are qualified for running an organisation like banks and companies not the police, why don't you ask yourself why they don't appoint a civilian to run the SANDF? that should be common sense to a learned person like you

  • Tshepo Maganedisa - 2013-03-26 08:21

    Bheki Cele was recalled for not knowing that the lease was inflated and that Roux Cele was involved and it would be interesting to see that Phiyega will be recall too because clearly she doesnt know a lot about her job and if thats the case why keep her there - this woman is arrogant and insensitive and quiet frankly she doesnt even seem to care seeing that she is on JZ's side - useless commisioner since Jackie Selebi

  • Elie Disipi - 2013-03-26 08:24

    the political deployment is killing this country, the woman is glueless about policing and presenting case as evidence and testifying. She contradict herself, she goes to an extend of answering like a child '' i don't know'', what is that to a high profile official who give account to her responses and actions she persuiated. No no no the woman must resign and go back to transnet.

  • James Ilukena - 2013-03-26 09:41

    Madam thought it is very easy to deal with the people who did law and understand crimes scenes very well Read this: After shooting Phiyega statement thank you you did a good job acted in self defence Day one of cross examination insistead

  • Bertha Huey - 2013-03-26 10:49

    Why doesn't she just tellit how it is ? The police do not have the resources, training, personel or will to do thier jobs, she should just tell them that she can only judge the situation on the haphazard, self protecting misinformation she recieves from her subordinates. Unfortunately she sees this as a personal attack and not a professional enquiry of which she and the county can learn from and improve thereof. Sadly, SA would appear not to learn by it's mistakes and be proactive and preventative but continues to be reactive on a immature basis.

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