CityPress - - News - ABRAM MASHEGO abram.mashego@city­

Sus­pended na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Riah Phiyega will head the list of 72 po­lice of­fi­cers iden­ti­fied for pros­e­cu­tion for their role in the killing of 34 strik­ing mine work­ers in Marikana, al­most five years after the mas­sacre that shocked the world hap­pened. This was re­vealed in a pre­sen­ta­tion by the po­lice’s watch­dog, the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate (Ipid), to Par­lia­ment this week after it combed through ev­i­dence in a com­plex in­ves­ti­ga­tion that cov­ered sev­eral crime scenes where po­lice shot the work­ers, in­clud­ing one death that took place at Andrew Saffy Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion en­com­passed the crime scenes where 10 other peo­ple, in­clud­ing two po­lice of­fi­cers, were killed in the week pre­ced­ing the mas­sacre in Au­gust 2012.

The iden­ti­fied of­fi­cers also in­clude for­mer North West com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Zuk­iswa Mbombo, Bri­gadier Ledile Malahlela, and North West deputy po­lice com­mis­sion­ers Ma­jor Gen­eral Ganasen Naidoo and Ma­jor Gen­eral Wil­liam Mpembe. Their charges will range from mur­der, as­sault and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice to per­jury.

In its pre­sen­ta­tion, Ipid re­vealed that the in­ves­ti­ga­tions were at an ad­vanced stage and it un­der­took to sub­mit the dock­ets to the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA) by April 24. But the watch­dog con­ceded that it had not yet ob­tained all rel­e­vant state­ments, nor had it yet ver­i­fied some of the video footage ob­tained dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Sixty-four warn­ing state­ments are out­stand­ing out of the 184 crime scene re­con­struc­tions,” said the re­port.

The warn­ing state­ment is a fi­nal stage in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which will be is­sued to sus­pects, and they will be af­forded an op­por­tu­nity to state their side of the story, paving the way for the NPA to make a de­ci­sion on whether to pros­e­cute on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis or not.

Ac­cord­ing to the pre­sen­ta­tion, “all rel­e­vant state­ments per­tain­ing to” Phiyega’s and Mbombo’s roles in mis­lead­ing the Far­lam com­mis­sion of in­quiry were sub­mit­ted to the NPA, and Ipid was wait­ing for fur­ther pros­e­cu­to­rial guid­ance.

An­other docket im­pli­cat­ing Naidoo in the shoot­ing of mine work­ers has also been sub­mit­ted to the NPA. It refers to Naidoo fail­ing to in­form Ipid that he had also fired shots at the scene, and that he had re­fused to sub­mit his firearm for bal­lis­tics test­ing. The pros­e­cu­tion is yet to an­nounce its de­ci­sion on the mat­ter.

In the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­gard­ing the mur­der of the two po­lice of­fi­cers, and at­tempted mur­der of an­other po­lice of­fi­cer and five mine work­ers, in­ves­ti­ga­tors sub­mit­ted that they were due to ob­tain 10 state­ments and cer­tify the video footage. They planned to sub­mit the docket to the NPA for a de­ci­sion on March 28.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Ipid said it had dis­cov­ered that some po­lice of­fi­cers had con­cealed in­for­ma­tion sur­round­ing the death of an­other mine worker in a po­lice ve­hi­cle by claim­ing he had died in hospi­tal.

This case, ac­cord­ing to the Ipid re­port, was not re­vealed dur­ing the Marikana Com­mis­sion of In­quiry. Po­lice claimed the de­ceased was counted as one of those who died at Andrew Saffy Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal. In this case, Mpembe and three other of­fi­cers were cited as sus­pects. Ipid also stated that it had ev­i­dence to prove that the worker died in the po­lice ve­hi­cle at the de­ten­tion cen­tre. It is un­clear how the worker ended up at Andrew Saffy Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal, but the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been com­pleted and for­warded to the NPA for a de­ci­sion.

The Ipid re­port also re­vealed that all was not well with its in­ves­ti­ga­tions. It said the direc­torate could not con­clude some of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions by re­con­struct­ing the events – es­pe­cially at the sec­ond crime scene, which is known as Small Kop­pie – due to bud­getary con­straints. This was the scene where sev­eral mine work­ers were shot and killed while try­ing to run away from of­fi­cers, who fired shots in­dis­crim­i­nately.

In an in­ter­view with City Press last week, act­ing po­lice com­mis­sioner Kho­motso Phahlane said much had been done to im­ple­ment rec­om­men­da­tions from the Far­lam in­quiry into the mas­sacre. He said Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko ap­pointed a panel of ex­perts and se­nior of­fi­cers to look into is­sues em­a­nat­ing from the com­mis­sion.

“The panel is pri­mar­ily look­ing at how the pub­lic or­der po­lice, as well as crowd man­age­ment con­trol, could be re­viewed. This is an at­tempt to pre­vent a re­oc­cur­rence of the mas­sacre. Among other things, it is look­ing at the kind of equip­ment that is used by of­fi­cers,” he said.

Phahlane said a ded­i­cated unit had been set up to deal with is­sues re­lated to crowd man­age­ment. He said they had re­vised the ba­sic po­lice train­ing pro­gramme to in­tro­duce a ded­i­cated ses­sion to fo­cus on crowd man­age­ment that would last for three weeks, in­stead of the three-day course that was pre­sented in the past.

“When the new re­cruits leave the col­lege, they will be equipped to deal with crowds.”

Riah Phiyega

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