Phiyega takes responsibility for shooting

2012-08-17 14:35

Rustenburg - The police received information from several sources that striking miners in North West would not disperse peacefully, national police chief Riah Phiyega said on Friday.

"By midday, yesterday [Thursday] we had received information from various sources that the protesters would not end the strike peacefully and they would not leave their gathering point or disarm.

"The options were weighed and the decision taken that the SAPS [SA Police Service] needed to protect their members adjacent to the protesters," Phiyega told reporters in Rustenburg.

Asked who gave the police the order to shoot, she replied: "As commissioner, I gave police the responsibility to execute the task they needed to do."

Earlier, she said 34 people were killed in a shoot-out between the striking workers and the on a hilltop near Lonmin's mine at Marikana in Rustenburg.

‘No time for blaming’

"The total death of the protesters currently stands at 34 with more than 78 injured," Phiyega said.
A total of 259 people were arrested and six firearms recovered.

"This is no time for blaming, this is no time for finger-pointing. It is a time for us to mourn...
"The police had to use force to protect themselves from the... group," said Phiyega.

The leaders of the Marikana protesters tried to no avail to get a peaceful solution throughout the week, she said.

Weapons taken off the dead protesters included firearms stolen from the two police officers who were murdered earlier in the week.

Earlier at the briefing, the police showed video footage of how two policemen were killed by a group of protesters.

The video showed police officials confronting the group, asking for weapons.

The men told the police the weapons would be handed over at the mountain, and the police followed them there.

At the hilltop, the incident turned violent and the two police officers were killed.

Journalists were also showed aerial photographs of the naked men doing a ritual with a sangoma.
The group was described as "pretty militant".

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-08-17 14:40

    I'm not pointing fingers and I'm definitely mourning. Obey the law or pay the price.

      mofstok - 2012-08-17 15:19


      abo.bakkar.90 - 2012-08-17 15:31


      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-17 18:15

      News24 are deleting a lot of comments. We must complain as it is only happening in the late afternoon. I have an email add and cell number of eugune and I will post it shortly

  • njdejager - 2012-08-17 14:41

    The first Police commissioner to take full responsibility and that tells it like it is, straight forward with no uhm and ah. I commend her! If everything is handled like this from now on we might be going somewhere at last.

      nrgx.nrg - 2012-08-17 15:22

      Absolutely, At first I was apprehensive for a citizen to take the role as commissioner, however it is like a breath of fresh for an anc cadre to take responsibility. I am 100% behind her on her decision, it was the right thing to do. This sets a precedent and hopefully these thugs and union bosses will realise that SA and the police force WILL BE TAKEN HOSTAGE, and WILL NOT ALLOW VIOLENCE during protests.

      spartanx93 - 2012-08-17 15:36

      give her a bells!

      andre.ernstzen - 2012-08-17 15:47

      I second that! I don't know much about her but I like her already. Anyway, this time it wasn't the police's fault. The fault lies with the Unions, egging the strikers on.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-08-17 16:21

      Fair enough, with all the hoohaa about her appointment at least she's upfront, I tip my hat to her for that. On the up side (I hope) that this incident will serve as a warning for militant protesters in future - bring a gun and this is how you will end up.

      maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-08-17 16:26

      she should be ashamed of herself

  • gavin.lott.9 - 2012-08-17 14:42

    Fight fire with fire!...well done SAP!

  • seymore.butt - 2012-08-17 14:46

    Well Done police commissioner! We are behind you on all decisions you take to make the public follow the rule of law. Protestors these days think they don't have to account for violence they create against law abiding citizens!

  • shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-08-17 14:47

    You Go Girl.... I support your decision and understand that it could not have been an easy one to make... A Million Thumbs Ups to you

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-08-17 14:52

    Zuma should have been briefed about the situation at the mine. It has been ongoing and the fires were fueling as the time went by. He should have strategic planning in place. It is not the police who should be in this position but our army. Yet, another bad decision by our travelling salesman. Police are not trained to take on this type of violence, do you really expect them to stand in the front and take on the crowd, how are they expected to defend themselves. Give them some credit. Look to our Head of State where this situation should have been sorted, they did'nt want to step in, secretly waiting from the sideline this is who should have done something. First, take the army, go in and arrest the union bosses, and then move the crowd out. When the crowd realised they were outnumbered by the army, they would have dispersed.

      mofstok - 2012-08-17 15:20

      The army is not responsible for police action, so sending the army in first would be a breach of protocol and procedure. If it is a state of emergency where things are so out of hand that the police can no longer maintain law and order, then the army can start intervening.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-08-17 15:33

      BEcause the ANC are scared of the unions....

      charmaine.hoffmann.1 - 2012-08-17 16:07

      Even if he was briefed, he woulnt have known what to do...he only knows how to board planes to fly to faraway places...please dont interupt his holidays.....

      charl.moller.3 - 2012-08-17 16:09

      Firstly, Winifred, the police are/were/supposed to be equipped and able to handle these situations. They had been doing that for many years during the riots era.. Secondly.. the army has no powers of arrest to arrest the union bosses in the first place..

      nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-08-17 16:19

      We would still eb talking next week - with more police dead - who knows what the hooligans would have done at night fall? Zuma cannot decide - he just sits on the fence and follows the wind!

      grant.callaway.50 - 2012-08-17 16:25

      The crowd were not going to "realise" anything! They charged THREE THOUSAND heavily armed policemen. Logic doesnt come into it! The only difference the army would have made, is they could've fired some tanks at the idiots. Lastly - Zuma has absolutely no ability to control ANYTHING! Looking to him for some sort of leadership is quite frankly, disturbing!

      khanyi.simukai - 2012-08-17 16:34

      thumbs up for this comments.

      narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-08-17 16:41

      Why so many thumbs down for Winifred? She's completely right.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-08-17 15:01

    Congratulations for doing what needed to be done.

  • kevin.pitzer - 2012-08-17 15:04

    Indeed a tough call to make …. If this be true then it seems we can add one more lady to that promising group of Patricia ,Helen and Thuli !

      hudayfah.newman - 2012-08-17 15:29

      Hey! How could you leave out Mazibuko

  • Msika - 2012-08-17 15:07

    "Live by the sword die by the sword". This is tragic, God be with the affected families during these dificult times.

  • lowis.coetzee - 2012-08-17 15:09

    It's high time that people respect the power of the police!

      njdejager - 2012-08-17 15:22

      I agree! Everyone was getting less and less scared of the police and law inforcement in general. Hopefully this sends a very clear message to all. Fight fire with Fire.

  • jackal666.daniel - 2012-08-17 15:09

    Backbone I like!

  • dimitripappas - 2012-08-17 15:10

    "The men told the police the weapons would be handed over at the mountain, and the police followed them there. At the hilltop, the incident turned violent and the two police officers were killed.". Sickening. Blame the police all you want... as far as I'm concerned, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED. You DON'T charge at Police while wielding pangas and spears, and expect to come out alive. This isn't Shaka's days, this is 2012 and if you try that trick you'll get mowed down by assault rifles and live ammo. Let this be a lesson learned

      Chaapo - 2012-08-17 15:25

      Not only that, but for the killers to then dance in their ritual celebration of the killing with a sangoma is beyond the pale. It is a madness that needed to be dealt with because there is no rationalizing with mad people.

      abo.bakkar.90 - 2012-08-17 15:34

      Not difficult in this case: You are either a law abiding citizen and support the Police or a thug and support the protesters.

      estar69 - 2012-08-17 15:57

      Even back the you could not do that, look at Bloodriver, when will these people learn the result of bringing a knife to a gun a machine gun fight!

      mike.clery - 2012-08-17 16:24

      I trust that the job of hunting down and prosecuting those responsible for the barbaric murder of these two policemen isn't neglected.

  • sam.tlou - 2012-08-17 15:14

    Few stupid, who knows some might even not be mineworkers our people should realy learn that violence is not an answer it is so sad that poor police died in the line of duty, they thought they deal with normal and out crying employees infact they were dealing with criminal.

  • christina.setloboko - 2012-08-17 15:14

    NAKED MEN DOING RITUAL!!!,very funny!! Maybe they thought they will be invisible. see what the rituals did now/. I'M 100 % BEHIND MEN in blue on this one.

  • sean.bezuidenhout - 2012-08-17 15:15

    Brain Dead! Storming a whole battalion of cops with a pistol and a panga! Well done to the SAPS you guys surely need to keep your heads high, tragic yes but in line of duty!

  • irma.white.9 - 2012-08-17 15:15

    This is such a sad situation. One the one hand they should just be grateful they have a job in this country, but the mine unions were stupid to tell them they could earn so much (R12k is waaaaaaaay more than what I earn). I do understand that the work is dangerous, and it is despicable that the fat cats sit in their nice air conditioned office while they can't be bothered to offer some sort of safety wage or at least make sure the equipment and working conditions are as safe as can be. However, there is NO excuse for violence. There is NO excuse for them to have any weapons- if their intentions were good they wouldn't need them. There sure as heck is NO excuse for them to go around killing police, security and their fellow colleagues. Then, finally, there is NO excuse for them to charge at ARMED police like that. What were they thinking?! For those saying the police should have used water cannons, rubber bullets, etc- please watch the videos where you clearly see water cannons being used. I don't know about you, but if I had a gun and crazy, angry testosterone driven men were running towards me, KNOWING they were capable of murder, I'd sure shoot them too. No questions.

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-08-17 15:16

    She is showing signs of a true officer by taking responsibility. Jolly good show!

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-08-17 15:17

    I'm starting to like Phiyega. She called it,, and is sticking by her guns. Good stuff.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-08-17 15:20

    I'm starting to like Phiyega. She called it, and is now sticking by her guns. Good one.

  • neo.afrika - 2012-08-17 15:21

    I do nt knw wat this police commissioner is being smoking there is some1 to blame do this people realise that they have killed som1's husband,father or a bread winner of some family and all she can say is we must mourn this senseless act,this is exactly wat used to happen during apartheid and this shoot to kill just went to these trigger happy policeman/women heads

  • chadjason.wilson - 2012-08-17 15:21

    Do they show what happend on the news in South Africa? The police kept shooting! Dead bodies were strewn everywhere! Did each one of these people deserve the death penalty. Reading these comments makes me sad to be South African. She must go if she is responsible. What happens when you try and corner an angry mob, coral them? Come on, this cannot be the right way.... not ever!!!!

  • carolyn.dewrance - 2012-08-17 15:21

    Disgusting, this is not the way to solve problems in South Africa. She should be fired, along with Zuma

  • senzitol - 2012-08-17 15:21

    thank you for killing our citizens, when are you killing the Nigerians flooding our country with drugs Miss Balls

  • abrammothibedi.abram - 2012-08-17 15:22

    i believe that salary adjustment should be settled by dialogue not by bullets and knobkieries.

  • exile13 - 2012-08-17 15:22

    Give Phiyega a bells! This could not have ended any better, slower response from SAPS would have resulted in more deaths.

  • cjamneck - 2012-08-17 15:24

    SAD SAD SAD.....

  • steveroodt - 2012-08-17 15:24

    Where are The Union Leaders Now?

  • lerato.tsagae - 2012-08-17 15:26

    I am not trying to sound racist but as a black person I honestly feel our own people have become a joke to other nations and forgot what ubuntu means. There are millions of people out there who are unemployed and living in stricken poverty we should start being grateful who what we have and stop fighting and blaming government/private sector for not providing things for us. It is time we learn to appreciate and be grateful and God will bless us more!!

  • hudayfah.newman - 2012-08-17 15:27

    I think the sangoma dancing naked was where the police drew the line.

  • craig.rethman - 2012-08-17 15:30

    tear gas? rubber bullets?

  • tanziquinn - 2012-08-17 15:38

    I think it must have been a tough decision to make , I will admit that it is sad that lives were lost especially for their families but at the end of the day this was self defense and needed to be done. If the Police can get 'walked over' and taken advantage of what is the point in the force. SAPS should be respected and their authority needs to be understood. Good job SAPS!!!

  • raps.magans - 2012-08-17 15:38

    am very saddened by the turn of events whether be the action of Miners or the self-defence strategy of the police,i am heart broken guys,i am down,feel so pity,people dying like rats reminiscence of apathied years!!s##t ,this is bullsh@t why cant the police ministry consult strategist who have skills and experience in dealing with mobs without waiting to use lethal force?Otherwise we would not have witnessed such a tragedy at the behest of in-experienced ,triger happy police against lunatic & over-zealous miners.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-08-17 15:40

    I had my doubts with the appointment, but in my eyes she passes this latest test with flying colours. There is nothing like truth and honesty.

  • madile.moloi - 2012-08-17 15:45

    I salute SAPS, you cannot fight assegais & all those DIY lethal weapons Water Canons. Viva Commisioner Viva. I think this has shed some light at the end of the tunnel.

  • clarence.esau - 2012-08-17 15:45

    Thanks, Riah! I told them so!!!!

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-08-17 15:45

    Good for you Lady!

  • Michael - 2012-08-17 15:47

    Police have restored their pride, now they must remove all those corrupt police man from their ranks, those protesters who are destroying property and causing deaths of innocent people in Cape Town be warned!

  • - 2012-08-17 15:54

    The sangoma's muti made them bulletproof

  • Erna - 2012-08-17 15:58

    The commissioner passes her first test with flying colours! These criminals must find out who's boss.

  • simon.mwando - 2012-08-17 15:59

    Eureka! \r\nBravo to you.Madam,Cele cld hav done differently Wat a way to kickstart your term

  • Lynne Wilkinson Walker - 2012-08-17 16:00

    It is sad that so many had to die and be injured, but if they had killed our police would

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-08-17 16:02

    Someone with backbone, there may be hope.

  • andile.ntabeni.9 - 2012-08-17 16:05

    I do not think our father had to die the way they did. What other less drastic measures did the commisioner consider before she gave the instructions. All that she is saying is that she got the information that the miners were not willing to abandon the strike peacefully. My problem is that she is not saying what danger did they pose to the police yesterday and if the police were endengered she is not saying why other drastic measures could not have been used.

  • flysouth - 2012-08-17 16:06

    Let us hope that we will now see, in short order, action against both these unions and their federation COSATU.Individuals must be compelled to account with prison terms as punishment. They are all guilty of incitement to violence, illegally gathering to commit violence, not to mention the killing of many people including police. If this useless ANC government wants to have any chance of running this country from today, then power and authority must be exercised and demonstrated to the limit in this case. Failure to act correctly now means we have a de facto state of anarchy prevailing in SA under the woeful governance of the ANC.

  • cabailie - 2012-08-17 16:11

    I agree with the police commissioner. In the footage I have seen, it is clear that the saps were reacting to a dangerous situation. Who in their right mind charges down a hill at a line of armed police officers? Especially given the prevailing atmosphere and tension. What did they think would happen? The unions need to take responsibility here for their part in this tragic incident.

  • Rodney - 2012-08-17 16:13


  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-08-17 16:14

    Well done Riah and youir SAP boytjies

  • Lynne Wilkinson Walker - 2012-08-17 16:15

    It is a shame so many had to die and be injured, but if it was the police who died would the human out cry be the same....I don't think so. Its time the police take action and well done, the situation cannot be laid at the door of SAPS only what about the violent aggressive strikers. Too often the policeman's hands are tied that is why criminals protesters get the upper hand. If you break the law the police have the power but may not use it in fear of police brutally been called and so criminals rule, a family member was stoned last week because the ANCYL had control of the police and they could not control them or protect the public. Give the police back their power so criminals and protesters fear and respect the law and pay. Well done to our men and women in blue who stood for what they believe and are not intimidated.

  • nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-08-17 16:21

    Like this!

  • ruaan.c.schutte - 2012-08-17 16:21

    wow cant believe you have to please explain why the police protected themselves...should the police have waited and prayed the protesters maybe change there minds while at full charge towards police with weapons. Ridiculous