Na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner will jus­tify why she should keep her job and will lay the blame for the Marikana mas­sacre at the door of a mil­i­tarised po­lice

CityPress - - Front Page - ABRAM MASHEGO abram.mashego@city­press.co.za – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Cai­phus Kgosana

Na­tional Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Riah Phiyega is ex­pected to do a Pon­tius Pi­late in her of­fi­cial sub­mis­sion to Pres­i­dent Zuma on why she is fit to hold of­fice.

Phiyega is set to blame her pre­de­ces­sor Bheki Cele’s mil­i­tari­sa­tion of the po­lice and the fact that, as she was only two months into the job when the Marikana mas­sacre hap­pened, she trusted that her se­nior man­age­ment and of­fi­cers knew what they were do­ing in han­dling the cri­sis.

Sources in­side and close to the po­lice lead­er­ship told City Press the na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner was also ex­pected to ar­gue that the mas­sacre took place only two months af­ter she was ap­pointed.

She would also say she had trusted that se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers knew what they were do­ing in han­dling the cri­sis.

City Press has learnt that key se­nior po­lice man­agers at­tended a meet­ing in Pre­to­ria two weeks ago where they strate­gised with Phiyega about how to for­mu­late a suit­able re­sponse to Pres­i­dent Zuma. She had been given un­til Fri­day to ex­plain why she should re­main in her po­si­tion.

The pres­i­dency an­nounced yesterday that Phiyega had sub­mit­ted her re­sponse.

A state­ment sent late on Fri­day night sug­gested she had missed the dead­line.

Judge Ian Far­lam, who chaired the com­mis­sion into the Marikana mas­sacre, rec­om­mended in his re­port that a probe should be in­sti­tuted into Phiyega’s fit­ness to hold of­fice. In June, Zuma re­leased the find­ings of the in­quiry into the 2012 shoot­ings of 34 strik­ing min­ers by po­lice at Lon­min’s Marikana mine.

Se­nior po­lice man­agers who at­tended the high-level meet­ing two weeks ago told City Press that Phiyega would place much of the blame on her pre­de­ces­sors – es­pe­cially Bheki Cele – who were re­spon­si­ble for mil­i­taris­ing the po­lice.

“She is say­ing the ser­vice was mil­i­tarised and she is now try­ing to re­verse the sit­u­a­tion,” said an in­sider.

Another source said Phiyega would ar­gue she had left most of the de­ci­sions on how to dis­perse the crowd that gath­ered in Marikana on the day of the mas­sacre to se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers.

“She trusted her se­nior of­fi­cers to know what they were do­ing,” said a source close to Phiyega.

The sources said Phiyega would also high­light her track record, in­di­cat­ing that she had re­in­forced the public or­der polic­ing unit and had teamed up with Unisa in a bid to pro­fes­sion­alise the po­lice ser­vice.

But her de­trac­tors have dis­missed this de­fence, say­ing she would be com­mit­ting “ca­reer sui­cide” if she adopted that line.

“She can’t in­su­late her­self, she in­volved her­self in much of the de­ci­sion mak­ing,” said a po­lice in­sider who is un­sym­pa­thetic to her.

Pres­i­dency spokesper­son Bongani Ma­jola said in a state­ment Zuma would study her re­sponse be­fore de­cid­ing on fur­ther ac­tion “and the na­ture of such in­ter­ven­tion”.

Phiyega’s spokesper­son, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Solomon Mak­gale, had not re­sponded to ques­tions at the time of go­ing to press.

PRE­DE­CES­SOR For­mer na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Bheki Cele


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