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‘Edited Marikana media statement had already been distributed’

Mashigo conceded that he distributed a media invite for Phiyega’s briefing, describing police actions.

FILE: Suspended National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega held a briefing in Sandton while investigations into her involvement in the fatal Marikana shootings which led to the death of over 30 miners. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Riah Phiyega's legal team has shown that a former Saps communications officer had already distributed information about the police's actions at Marikana before the suspended National Police Commissioner made final changes to the media statement on the incident.

Yesterday, Lindela Mashigo testified that Phiyega dictated changes to the media statement that was released a day after the mass shooting in 2012.

Phiyega is facing a Board of Inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Mashigo claimed that Phiyega changed the wording in the media statement released to the public a day after the mass shooting in Marikana.

He claimed that Phiyega left out that there were two scenes and included that police retreated systematically after being attacked.

Today, during cross examination Mashigo conceded that he distributed a media invite for Phiyega's briefing, describing the actions of the police.

This means that while Phiyega may have made changes to the statement, it was information that was already distributed to the public.

Mashigo maintains he wasn't in Marikana and was receiving information from officers on the ground.

He said 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.

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