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Phiyega defends SAPS

Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega told the Marikana Inquiry that police were doing well.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega on Tuesday told the Marikana Commission of Inquiry the South African Police Service (SAPS) managed to effectively deal with most violent protests and gatherings around South Africa over the past 18 months.

She was testifying on the 100th day of the inquiry in Rustenburg which is investigating August's shooting which claimed the lives of 34 miners.

Her comments came amid violent attacks on foreign-owned shops in Diepsloot, Sebokeng and Evaton.

The inquiry heard that officers have not had to use force in at least 80 percent of a total of about 151 gatherings and protests over the past year and a half.

Phiyega was cross-examined by advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the miners at the inquiry.

He quizzed her about the alleged use of maximum force by police officers during the Marikana shootings.

However, Phiyega hit back saying the strike at Marikana was in fact an illegal gathering and denied that officers were overzealous when handling the miners.

The inquiry was set up by President Jacob Zuma to get to the bottom of what happened leading to the deadly clashes.

The protesters were demanding better salaries at the time of the incident.

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