Amanda Watson
News Editor
2 minute read
3 May 2016
11:14 am

Phiyega inquiry off to bumpy start

Amanda Watson

The inquiry is being held at the SA Law Reform Commission offices in Centurion.

Suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Image source: Christine Vermooten

The Claasen Board of Inquiry into suspended General Riah Phiyega’s fitness to hold the office  of National Commissioner of the South African Police hit an early roadblock when her legal team was delayed due to protest action on the N1 highway in Midrand.

The inquiry is being held at the SA Law Reform Commission offices in Centurion.

Judge Neels Claasen is the chairperson and is being assisted by senior advocates Bernard Khuzwayo and Anusha Rawjee.

Phiyega is being represented by advocates Sello Mahlape and State advocate William Mokhari SC.

The evidence leaders – commission parlance for prosecutors – are advocates Thabani Masuku and Deidré Kusevitsky, led by advocate Ismail Jamie SC.

Marikana Support Campaign steering committee spokesperson Rehad Desai said he was worried Phiyega would attempt to stymie proceedings by blocking the Farlam Report, upon which the Claassen Inquiry is founded.

“We don’t know whether she is going ahead with this case, we are concerned that in the words of the Farlam Commission she has fabricated, lied, distorted the evidence, and she has been prepared to take the path where she is acting as the fall guy,” Desai said.

“We want her to desist from that path. Now is the time if she is going to retain any integrity for her name to come up with the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Desai noted there was more at stake for Phiyega this time around.

“This is a recommendation which comes from the Farlam Commission, recommendations are generally very weak, but it’s been four years now.

“Phiyega has said the operation was under her control. She has said she was briefed so in many ways she has to take responsibility for Marikana,” Desai said.

“The question is, where did those orders come from, what sanction was given, why did the minutes for the meeting which took place the night before mysteriously disappear?

“These are the questions that leave us very suspicious of where the orders originally came from and we’re hoping through this cross examination process answers will surface.

“We’re told Judge Claassen is a brilliant legal mind and he has promised prosecutions where there is evidence.”