Phiyega’s Marikana version dissected

Riah Phiyega again faced criticism yesterday for not verifying the facts about events at Marikana.

Riah Phiyega has again faced criticism for rushing to make a statement about the police's conduct in Marikana without verifying the facts. Picture: GCIS

RUSTENBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has again faced criticism for rushing to make a statement about the police's conduct in Marikana without verifying the facts.

Yesterday, Phiyega was cross-examined at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry about the statement she made the day after 34 miners were killed by police outside Lonmin Mine on 16 August.

She was quoted then as saying that police officers had had no choice but to "employ force to protect themselves" from the group of miners.

Phiyega continued to defend the police, even though she admitted she was not aware of the specifics regarding the killings at the North West mining town.

"My statement carries the high-level strategic feedback that I was given. I am not aware of those specifics," she was forced to concede.

The police commissioner also came under fire for not investigating allegations that a police officer fired more shots at a wounded miner on the day.

A statement from a police officer emerged claiming that a National Intervention Unit officer was seen killing a wounded miner.

Evidence leaders suggested that police refused to investigate the claims to cover up the truth and to preserve their version that the police acted in self-defence.

They argued Phiyega did not consider the possibility that another version may have unfolded on that day.

But she disagreed.

"He is saying 'I cannot point at the police (officer) who did it, I don't know his name.' And this is when I asked General [Zukiswa] Mbombo and General [Ganasen] Naidoo to further look into this matter."

Phiyega maintains North West Police Commissioner Mbombo was responsible for operations on the ground.

Her cross-examination will continue on Monday.