Pressure on Phiyega as deadline looms

SA's police boss only has 5 days to explain to the President why she should keep her job.

National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has just five days to reply to President Jacob Zuma about the recommendation that she be investigated for her fitness to hold office.

At the weekend, Phiyega jumped to the defence of police and their conduct in Marikana in 2012, but it appears some senior ranking officers want her to leave.

Phiyega had vowed not to make any public pronouncements following the release of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's findings but on Sunday she released a statement condemning public violence in general.

The commissioner said not enough emphasis was placed on the 10 people who were killed in Marikana in the days leading up to 16 August when the violence escalated.

In her statement on Sunday, Phiyega pointed out that she strongly disagrees with some of the content in the Marikana report, particularly the insinuation that management went to work that day with murderous intent.

She said most of the commission's findings were unsurprisingly negative regarding the role police officers played.

Phiyega said she disagrees with some of the findings in the Marikana report.

"I still find it very ridiculous that somebody would think that the leadership of the SAPS could sit in an office and make a decision to go and annihilate people. But that's a subject for another day once I've made my submission to the president. I will be making my submission to the president."


At the same time, there are reports that some officers have turned against Phiyega and have slammed her management and leadership, saying it has weakened the police service.

Phiyega's position may be under threat as reports emerge that the men and women in blue want her to leave and a secret meeting was held just a day before officers shot and killed 34 Marikana miners.

The Sunday Independent reported that during this meeting, Phiyega and several police generals decided that weapons such as R5 rifles should be used to quell the violence and that mortuary vans must be called to the scene.

While the commission of inquiry criticised the police throughout its report, Phiyega maintained that several interventions are already being implemented.

There's no indication however that she will be stepping down from her position.