Phiyega inquiry: Issue of political influence should be taken into account

The Claasen Commission is investigating Riah Phiyega’s fitness to hold office after the Marikana massacre.

Suspended National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega listens to representation by Advocate Dali Mpofu during closing arguments at the inquiry into her fitness to hold office in Centurion on 1 June 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has submitted an application to board of inquiry in Riah Phiyega's fitness to hold office, calling for political influence to be taken into consideration.

The suspended national police commissioner is facing the inquiry based on her involvement around the deadly mass shooting in Marikina in 2012.

Advocate Dali Mpofu has argued that the board of inquiry needs to consider why Phiyega and her senior police managers concealed their involvement during the Marikana massacre.

Mpofu says the terms of reference between employer and employee and whether Phiyega is fit to hold office are too narrow, and he believes the issue of political influence should be taken into account.

"Can South Africa have a national commissioner who has, at least in our version, breached one of the most fundamental principles of her offices -namely, the ability to withstand and resist political pressure."

Mpofu has argued extensively in the past that Cyril Ramaphosa and the then police minister Nathi Mthethwa put pressure on the police to move to a tactical phase.

At the same time, the Claassen Board of Inquiry has ruled that an affidavit by Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa can be submitted into evidence.

Closing argument was set to start today, but the union submitted its request to which Phiyega's defence team did not object.

Judge Neels Claassen delivered his ruling.

"There is therefore no more dispute about admitting the affidavit. The ruling that we therefore make is the following: the affidavit of Mr Mathunjwa is admitted in evidence, the relevance will stand over for later argument."