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Phiyega shouldn’t be Marikana scapegoat: DA

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National police commissioner, Riah Phiyega should not go down alone for the events that unfolded in Marikana three years ago, the Democratic Alliance said on Saturday.

The Presidency on Friday announced that an inquiry had been instituted into allegations of misconduct and/or whether Phiyega is fit to hold office.

This followed recommendations made by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, headed by retired judge Ian Farlam, who probed the August 2012 shooting of miners at the Marikana Platinum Mine in Lonmin which left 44 people dead during strike-related unrest.

“While we welcome this inquiry which is important for exacting justice for the families and loved ones of those that died at Marikana, Ms Phiyega should not be the sacrificial scapegoat,” said DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.

She added that the terms of reference also include “those that bore the ultimate political responsibility for what happened at Marikana”.

“This includes the then Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, the former Minister of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu, and even the incumbent Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, for putting big business and financial self-interest ahead of the lives of ordinary South Africans exercising their constitutional right to protest for a better life for them and their families.”

President Jacob Zuma had afforded Phiyega an opportunity to make written representations to him as to why she should not be placed on suspension pending the outcome of the inquiry.

The DA however said to ensure the safety of South Africans, Phiyega should be removed from her position.

“Her failings over the past three years have contributed, in no small measure, to the events that led to the Marikana massacre… She has also overseen the sharp decline of the SAPS and affected the service’s ability to protect South Africans,” said Kohler Barnard.

Phiyega’s office had not yet publicly responded to news of the inquiry. News24

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