Zuma institutes inquiry into Phiyega’s ability to hold office

The President has given Phiyega an opportunity to submit reasons as to why she should not be suspended.

FILE: National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has written to the National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega informing her of his intention to institute an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

In a statement released this evening the President has also given Phiyega an opportunity to make written representations to him as to why she should not be placed on suspension pending the outcome of the inquiry.

A total of 44 people were killed, 34 of them were gunned down by police during a violent and unprotected strike at Lonmin's Platinum Mine.

Sunday marked exactly three years since the deadly shooting and many gathered at the infamous Koppie where they paid tribute to those who fought, and died, for a living wage.

Zuma received and considered the report of Judge Farlam pertaining to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry and has also received the comments of Phiyega on the recommendations and findings of the report.

WATCH: Remembering Marikana...


Last week, the injured and arrested Marikana mineworkers were seeking about R3 million each by the state following the deadly shooting in August 2012.

More than 300 civil claims against the presidency and the police ministry were filed.

The Marikana miners feel that the commission of inquiry's findings didn't offer them any answers or justice for what happened almost three years ago.

Attorney Andries Nkome said they deserved financial compensation.

"The amount of claims we have made is around R3 million per person. Lawsuits are for financial compensation for unlawful arrests, for detentions, as well as for the injuries that they sustained."

Opposition parties on Thursday called for immediate compensation for the families of the Marikana miners.

The Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema told the Parliament action needed to be taken.

"Marikana was a murder that was facilitated in clear daylight and under political supervision and influence of politicians, many of whom continue to enjoy privileges of this house."

The government has been urged to urgently implement all the recommendations of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

WATCH: Maimane calls for compensation for Marikana families


Earlier this month, the South African Police Union (Sapu) said Phiyega should make the honourable decision and accept that she had failed to follow mandate as police commissioner.

The union's Mpho Kwinika said the decision was obvious.

"I thought she would do an honourable thing and not even protest the issue of her to leave. If she's a good South African, she can hear that the people that she's serving are also against her leadership."

Shadow police commissioner Dianne Kohler-Barnard said Phiyega's record after Marikana also showed "bizarre and non-compliant behaviour."

"I think her copy book is now so bloated that he [Zuma] has no option but to rid us of this troublesome woman."

The Economic Freedom Fighters had also called for her removal saying they will continue to make sure she's arrested for the deaths of 34 miners in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) also said it had written to the president spelling out why Phiyega was unfit for her position.

Kohler Barnard said Zuma should dishonourably discharge Phiyega for her inability to halt the rapid decline of the police service.

"Over and above Riah Phiyega's conduct on that fateful day, the current commissioner has a nothing short of abysmal record as national police commissioner, because she has time and time again demonstrated her complete inability to arrest the decline of our South African Police Services [Saps]."

The DA's cited soaring irregular expenditure, an increase in the crime rate and Phiyega's failure to deal with convicted criminals within the ranks of the Saps, among other issues.

"Her tenure at the helm of the police service has been mired in controversy that most likely stems from her incompetence as police chief, to the detriment of the citizens whose everyday safety needs to rely on a properly managed, trained and resourced Saps."