ANC, DA welcomes Ipid’s findings on Phiyega

Ipid yesterday announced suspended police chief Riah Phiyega be charged with defeating the ends of justice.

FILE: Suspended National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega (Centre). Picture: Anthony Molyneaux EWN

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Both the African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA) have welcomed the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid)'s findings that suspended National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega be charged with defeating the ends of justice.

The police watchdog has recommended to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that charges be brought against Phiyega and former North West commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo in connection with the deaths of Marikana mineworkers.

Thirty-four striking Lonmin employees were shot by police during a tense standoff on 16 August 2012.

Ipid is investigating whether the police officers involved should be held criminally liable.

The DA says while it welcomes Ipid's decision, politicians who held key ministerial positions when the mineworkers were gunned down should not be let off the hook.

Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament (MP) Zak Mbhele says, "This is one thing that must come to light in full."

ANC MP Leonard Ramatlakane says the party supports the watchdog's probe.

"Including the recommendation that certain police officers, including the suspended national commissioner be charged. We support all that."

Budgetary constraints, a 'defaced crime scene' and uncooperative witnesses are some of the challenges the investigation team has faced since work began in July last year.


Lawyers representing the Marikana miners say they still believe political powers influenced the decisions made on the ground in August 2012 and are calling for those above Phiyega to be charged.

Ipid announced in Parliament yesterday that a case docket recommending that Phiyega be charged was handed over to the NPA for consideration.

Phiyega is also facing an inquiry into her fitness to hold office, as recommended by a judicial commission which probed the deaths of 44 people at the Lonmin mine.

Attorney Andries Nkome, who is representing the Marikana miners, says they believe Phiyega has been used as a scapegoat.

"It shouldn't have just been Phiyega, it should have been many other people as well."

A day after the fatal shootings, Phiyega defended the police's actions.

She said, "The militant group stormed towards the police, firing shots and wielding dangerous weapons. Police retreated systematically and were forced to utilise maximum force to defend themselves."

Those who survived and the families of the victims are still waiting for the police to take responsibility for the shootings as well as for government to compensate them for their losses and injuries.