Phiyega commission underway

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The board of inquiry established to look into the allegations of misconduct by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Riah Phiyega, is operational, said the Presidency on Monday.

The board was established following a recommendation by the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, which examined the killing of 34 miners on 16 August 2012, at Marikana, during a strike at the Lonmin mine.

Farlam Commission report indicated Phiyega should shoulder much of the blame for the operational blunders that led up to the police shooting of the miners.

President Jacob Zuma suspended Phiyega on 14 October 2015 over allegations of misconduct.

The terms of reference of the board of inquiry include investigating whether Phiyega, acting with others in the SA Police Service leadership structures, “misled the commission” by hiding the fact that they had authorised the “tactical option” during a management meeting on the day before the killings.

The board of inquiry would also investigate whether Phiyega, while taking the decision to go the tactical route, could have foreseen the tragic and catastrophic consequences which ensued.

According to the Presidency, the board will also look into the remarks by Phiyega at the SAPS parade on 17 August 2012, and whether they would have been understood to be an unqualified endorsement of the police action and thereby having the consequence of undermining, frustrating or otherwise impeding the work of the Farlam Commission.

The inquiry will investigate the report prepared by Phiyega for President Zuma on 16 August 2012 and the media statement subsequently issued on 17 August 2012 to see if they were deliberately amended to conceal the fact that there were two shooting incidents at different scenes.

It will also look into the overall testimony by Phiyega at the Farlam Commission and whether it was in keeping with the office which she holds and the discharge of her duties commensurate therewith.

Members of the board include chairperson Judge Neels Claassen, Advocate Bernard Khuzwayo and Advocate Anusha Rawjee. The board has appointed advocate Liza Tsatsi as secretary.