Phiyega’s suspension is ‘too little too late’

The Presidency suspended Riah Phiyega with immediate effect and on full pay.

FILE: Suspended National police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Miners from Marikana say National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's suspension is too little too late and other political heavy weights should also take responsibility for the killings in 2012.

The Presidency released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying it had considered Phiyega's reasons for not wanting to be suspended, but it has decided to do so with immediate effect and on full pay.

The suspension is pending the outcome of a board of inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry raised concerns in its final report about Phiyega's conduct at the hearings, saying she withheld evidence and recommended that she be investigated.

Three months after the report was released, President Jacob Zuma decided to suspend her pending the outcome of an inquiry, which has already been set up, but it's unclear when it will commence.

Attorney Andries Mkome who represents the miners says while they welcome the suspension, they believe it's not enough.

"We agree that it is good, but we also say that it is not enough. Our clients' view is that it's too little too late. There ought to have been more done at an earlier stage."

The Presidency has appointed Lieutenant-General Johannes Khomotso Phahlane as acting national commissioner.

LISTEN: McBride accuses Phiyega of breaking the law.

Phiyega was appointed as police commissioner in 2012 shortly before the Marikana shooting.

However, her conduct at the commission of inquiry and her statements defending the police have been highly criticised.

The Democratic Alliance says her appointment was a mistake from the very beginning while the African National Congress says the president has now taken action and he should be commended.

The Marikana miners however say Phiyega shouldn't be the only one held responsible.

Mkome said, "She should not be made a scapegoat because she just happens to be a political lightweight. She shouldn't have lied in front of the commission simply because she was protecting heavier police people."