Marikana: Phiyega to testify again

Riah Phiyega expects to be called to testify again at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says she is expecting to be called back to testify again at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry and has vowed to tell only the truth.

Two separate witnesses have told the commission they were instructed to lie about details of the shooting at Lonmin's Marikana mine in 2012 in which 34 miners were killed.

Testimony from one of the witnesses directly implicated Phiyega in the alleged cover-up.

The commissioner says she is not going to respond to the accusations at this stage.

"My lawyers will be taking this opportunity to engage with this matter. Under oath I answered questions of this matter and under oath I shall do so again."

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer George Bizos told the Marikana Commission of Inquiry he believes some senior police officers were deliberately absent from the scene of the 2012 shooting to avoid blame.

North West air wing commander Salmon Vermaak confirmed that senior commanders were not on the scene but refused to concede that this was a deliberate strategy.

Veteran human rights lawyer George Bizos (R) with struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada. Picture: Sapa.

Bizos, however, maintains the police made provisions to ensure the senior officers could not be placed at the scene.

Vermaak was supposed to testify on behalf of the police's legal team but was later told to hire his own representative after he criticised the police's actions on the day of the shooting.

Furthermore, police refused to comment on Vermaak's testimony that there was an alleged plan to blame the killing of 34 mineworkers on the senior officer.

On Wednesday he told the commission he was contacted by the police's head of operations, and told he would be apportioned the blame for the August 2012 killings, but said he didn't understand why.

He also claimed that Phiyega as well as the North West Police Commissioner and her deputy all told him to lie in his testimony.

Vermaak said Phiyega and the top brass of the police in the North West told him to mislead the commission about how some of the miners were shot by police.

He said he was told to testify that he had driven the striking miners away from the scene of the first shooting to another koppie where 18 people were killed.