Damning evidence could weaken Riah Phiyega’s case

A SAPS communications officer testified she dictated changes to a media statement a day after the shooting.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Damning evidence about suspended National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has been heard at the inquiry into her fitness, to hold office.

Former South African Police Service (SAPS) communications officer, Lindela Mashigo, says Phiyega dictated changes to a statement he prepared on the mass shooting in Marikana in 2012.

He was the second witness to testify at the Claassen Board of Inquiry which will establish whether Phiyega and her senior police managers misled the Farlam Commission in a bid to conceal their actions surrounding the shooting.

Mashigo earlier said the suspended commissioner made him change certain aspects of the media statement released to the public a day after the shooting.

"The national commissioner dictated changes, which I effected to the document on my laptop."

He says the statement was changed so that it did not reflect that there were two scenes at Marikana, and that the police retreated systematically when charged by protesters.

Damning evidence, which could have severe consequences for Phiyega, has been presented to the board of inquiry.

A tactical response team member has claimed that orders to move to a tactical phase in Marikana came from national police management.

Captain Monwabisi Ntlati was the first witness to take the stand - his evidence blames Phiyega and the senior management for ordering police to move to a tactical phase and act on protesters.

LISTEN: Day Two of Claasen Inquiry into Riah Phiyega's fitness to hold office

Phiyega's lawyer, William Mokhari, earlier said he wasn't ready to cross examine.

"If we could stand down to tomorrow morning at 10am, I can cross examine the witness and finish with the cross examination."

The evidence produced so far could implicate Phiyega and weaken her case.

It's unclear if there are other witnesses set to testify.

Proceedings have been postponed to tomorrow.