Phiyega files review application against Claassen report

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National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega.
National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega.
Theana Breugem

Johannesburg - Suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega has launched a review application to set aside the findings of the Claassen inquiry into her fitness to hold office. 

Phiyega’s lawyer Sandile July told News24 on Friday the application was filed in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday.

Papers arguing that Judge Neels Claassen’s findings were irrational were served on the presidency on the same day.

The inquiry found Phiyega was not fit to hold office and should be dismissed, and that she lied to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Phiyega’s lawyers were expected to argue that Claassen changed the inquiry’s terms of reference and contradicted the findings of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. This was established to investigate the deaths of 44 people during an illegal mineworkers’ strike at Lonmin mine in Marikana in August 2012. 

Retired Judge Ian Farlam recommended that Phiyega face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

President Jacob Zuma suspended Phiyega on full pay in October 2015. He had given her until January 23 this year to submit her representations on Claassen's findings.  

Phiyega faced several charges related to her conduct during the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s strike at Lonmin.

They included that she tried to mislead the public, made the decision for police to use the “tactical” option to end the strike, and should have foreseen that bloodshed would follow. 

She was expected to argue that Claassen changed some of the Farlam commission’s findings without hearing new evidence, and that now-retired North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo decided to use the tactical option.

Phiyega was taking the Farlam inquiry’s findings on review.

The Claassen report had been sent to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and would be referred to Parliament’s police portfolio committee.

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