PHIYEGA WON’T LEAVE WITH­OUT A FIGHT

Phiyega said to be ‘hurt’ by Marikana re­port find­ings, but told a se­nior of­fi­cer on Fri­day she’d go ‘nowhere’ Wounded and ar­rested min­ers to meet lawyers in Marikana to­day to be­gin draw­ing up pa­pers to sue Cyril Ramaphosa Po­lice of­fi­cers at Scene 2 say of

CityPress - - Front Page - ABRAM MASHEGO and ATHANDIWE SABA abram.mashego@city­press.co.za athandiwe.saba@city­press.co.za

N ational po­lice com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Riah Phiyega is dig­ging in her heels ahead of the in­quiry into her fit­ness to hold of­fice an­nounced by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma this week.

Two highly placed sources told City Press that Phiyega was tak­ing re­tired Judge Ian Far­lam’s Marikana re­port ex­tremely hard and feel­ing “hurt” and “down” about its find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions.

Phiyega is said to feel par­tic­u­larly ag­grieved be­cause she had only been at the head of the SA Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS) for two months at the time of the mas­sacre on Au­gust 16 2012.

On Thurs­day, Phiyega re­ceived a let­ter from the pres­i­dent de­tail­ing the re­port’s rec­om­men­da­tions and ask­ing her to ex­plain why she was fit to hold of­fice.

How­ever, two se­nior po­lice in­sid­ers told City Press Phiyega was adamant that she would not re­sign be­fore a board of in­quiry was held. One of the sources said she had told him on Fri­day: “I am go­ing nowhere.”

“I know she will not go down with­out a fight,” said the source. “This has af­fected her very neg­a­tively.”

Although Phiyega has un­til July 31 to re­ply to Zuma’s let­ter, moves to ap­point an act­ing re­place­ment are al­ready in full swing.

A se­nior source in the crim­i­nal jus­tice clus­ter told City Press that although it was up to the pres­i­dency to ar­range the board of in­quiry, “things are mov­ing very fast” and they ex­pected Phiyega to be sus­pended as soon as Pres­i­dent Zuma re­ceived her re­spond­ing let­ter.

Two sep­a­rate se­nior in­sid­ers said the di­vi­sional com­mis­sioner of op­er­a­tional re­sponse ser­vices, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Elias Mawela, was be­lieved to have been ear­marked to act in her place, a move that was al­ready an­ger­ing at least two of Phiyega’s three deputy na­tional com­mis­sion­ers.

The Marikana re­port re­leased this week found that Phiyega knew about and al­lowed a plan by her se­nior of­fi­cers to hide ev­i­dence from the com­mis­sion and, with pro­vin­cial com­mis­sioner Zuk­iswa Mbombo, took “ir­rel­e­vant” po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions into ac­count when de­cid­ing on what to do at Marikana.

Min­ers to sue Ramaphosa

When the wounded and ar­rested min­ers meet to­day in Marikana with their lawyers, in­clud­ing Ad­vo­cate Dali Mpofu, they will be­gin pro­cesses to sue Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa for his role in the mas­sacre.

Speak­ing on the min­ers’ be­half, Mzox­olo Magidi­wane told City Press they would in­struct their lawyers to start draft­ing court pa­pers as soon as pos­si­ble to in­sti­tute civil claims against Ramaphosa in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity, as well as against the po­lice min­istry and the min­ing com­pany Lon­min. “The com­mis­sion is done now and the min­ers are not happy with the re­port. We will not sit on our lau­rels,” said Magidi­wane.

Their lawyer An­dries Nkome said they would be re­port­ing back to their clients to­day re­gard­ing the re­port. “We were asked to ad­vise what le­gal av­enues are avail­able to them if they are un­happy with some of the find­ings,” he said.

Far­lam’s re­port found that Ramaphosa’s emails to Lon­min man­age­ment, then po­lice min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa and for­mer min­eral re­sources min­is­ter Su­san Shabangu days be­fore the shoot­ing de­mand­ing “con­comi­tant ac­tion” could not have caused the deaths of the 34 min­ers killed in the mas­sacre. “The ac­cu­sa­tions made against him by coun­sel for the in­jured and ar­rested per­sons are ground­less,” the re­port found.

Far­lam is re­spected – Bi­zos

Un­like the min­ers, Ad­vo­cate Ge­orge Bi­zos, who was at the com­mis­sion rep­re­sent­ing the fam­ily of slain miner John Led­ing­wane – who was shot in the back of the head 80m away from where the po­lice said they were at­tacked – said he had con­fi­dence in Far­lam’s re­port.

“I spent many years, from 1960, sit­ting in com­mis­sions where mas­sacres were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated – in­clud­ing Sharpeville and Boipa­tong,” he said.

The com­mis­sion into the Boipa­tong mas­sacre in which 44 peo­ple were killed was headed by Judge Richard Gold­stone, whose re­port re­leased in 1992 found that there had been no ev­i­dence of po­lice col­lu­sion in those killings.

“The in­vari­able re­sult was that there was no one to blame and we had to live with it, even though it was shown that there were deaths, in­juries and tor­ture.

“There was noth­ing we could do about it,” said the 87-year-old hu­man rights lawyer. “I didn’t think I would ever have to face that kind of sit­u­a­tion af­ter 1994, even though there was quite a lot of vi­o­lence lead­ing up to the elec­tions,” added Bi­zos. “I never ex­pected I would have to be in­volved the way I was in­volved dur­ing the apartheid regime with what hap­pened on 16 Au­gust.”

Bi­zos said that although he still needed to fully con­sult the Led­ing­wane fam­ily, they would be in­sti­tut­ing civil claims against Lon­min, the SAPS or both. Speak­ing on be­half of the wid­ows and fam­i­lies, So­cio-Eco­nomic Rights In­sti­tute of SA (Seri) lit­i­ga­tion di­rec­tor Nomzamo Zondo said they were fo­cus­ing on Far­lam’s rec­om­men­da­tions that the North West di­rec­tor of public pros­e­cu­tions should in­ves­ti­gate the cases and de­cide

whether to pros­e­cute.

The fam­i­lies will also lodge civil claims against Lon­min and the SAPS.

“The fam­i­lies have been se­verely let down by the com­mis­sion.

“They didn’t only want to ap­por­tion blame but also get clo­sure. The very least they wanted were an­swers – yet they still don’t know why their hus­bands, broth­ers and bread­win­ners were killed,” added Zondo.

No an­swers from Ipid

In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Di­rec­torate (Ipid) spokesper­son Moses Dlamini said their in­ves­ti­ga­tion team would hold a meet­ing in the com­ing days with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion team to “an­a­lyse the ev­i­dence”.

“They would also en­gage ex­perts and de­cide on the way for­ward,” he said, adding they would dis­cuss re­sum­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tions they be­gan in 2012 and which were stopped when the Far­lam com­mis­sion was an­nounced.

Se­nior Ipid sources told City Press the ev­i­dence they had gath­ered ran into thou­sands of pages, which was sub­mit­ted to the Far­lam com­mis­sion. They said they were only able to rec­om­mend that as­sault charges be pur­sued against North West’s deputy pro­vin­cial com­mis­sioner, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Wil­liam Mpembe, and a few other of­fi­cers, who al­legedly tor­tured a num­ber of ar­rested min­ers in po­lice cells. That case had al­ready been re­ferred to the North West di­rec­tor of public pros­e­cu­tions for a de­ci­sion. Mpembe de­clined to com­ment. How­ever, two se­nior sources said that the chances of pros­e­cut­ing any in­di­vid­ual po­lice of­fi­cer for his or her role in the mas­sacre were slim – in­clud­ing those at what is known as Scene 2, where of­fi­cers who pur­sued min­ers af­ter the ini­tial shoot­ing killed them as they were try­ing to flee or were hid­ing be­hind boul­ders.

The docket, they said, con­tained no ev­i­dence to link any par­tic­u­lar po­lice of­fi­cer to any mur­der.

“The guns that were used were high-cal­i­bre weapons and, in al­most all the in­stances, the bul­lets went through the vic­tims’ bod­ies, leav­ing no ev­i­dence link­ing in­di­vid­ual po­lice weapons to bod­ies,” said one se­nior source.

The sources said the fact that po­lice of­fi­cers left the scene be­fore Ipid in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rived and re­turned their weapons to the ar­moury had made in­ves­ti­ga­tions even more dif­fi­cult.

“The po­lice have also not been help­ful in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” said a source, adding that the scenes had been con­tam­i­nated. “This is a sad re­al­ity: fam­i­lies are un­likely to know who mur­dered their loved ones or see them serve jail time.”

‘I was at Scene 2’

Two se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers, one a tac­ti­cal re­sponse team mem­ber and another a se­nior of­fi­cer in the na­tional in­ter­ven­tion unit, told City Press this week about the chaos at Scene 2 and how the po­lice had tried to cover their tracks.

“There was no com­mand and con­trol. We were just shoot­ing to a point that even our dogs were con­fused about what was go­ing on. One of our of­fi­cers was even bit­ten by our dog dur­ing the shoot­ing,” said one of the men.

“At Scene 2, the min­ers were not ad­vanc­ing and many were shot from be­hind. The man­age­ment knows about this but de­cided to come up with another ver­sion of events,” said the other of­fi­cer, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

“We shot them be­cause we didn’t want them to point us out and tes­tify against us. That’s why the po­lice also went to the po­lice sta­tions to look for min­ers with cell­phone footage of what hap­pened.”

The of­fi­cer said they were asked to make af­fi­davits de­tail­ing what hap­pened.

“I gave a true ac­count, but was told to change my ver­sion by a se­nior of­fi­cer, who said I had lied.

“I re­fused, and later I was trans­ferred as pun­ish­ment,” the of­fi­cer said.

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