The Presidency says it is yet to receive the Claassen Board of Inquiry’s report that allegedly recommends suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega is unfit to hold office and should be dismissed.
The alleged recommendations of the much-awaited report of a board of inquiry headed by Judge Cornelis Claassen were on Sunday published in the City Press newspaper, which quoted information from three sources with supposed knowledge of the findings. The paper said President Jacob Zuma had not yet been briefed about the report’s findings.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, on Monday told The Citizen that the office has not yet received the report into Phiyega’s position and would, therefore, not comment on its contents.
“The Presidency has no knowledge of the report referred to in the media reports. The Presidency will inform the public as soon as the report is received by President Zuma,” Ngqulunga said.
The inquiry, according to City Press, also found that Phiyega lied to the Marikana Commission, under retired Judge Ian Farlam, which was appointed to investigate the August 2012 Marikana shooting in which 34 miners were killed by police while protesting for a wage increase at Lonmin Platinum mine.
The conduct of police was found to be questionable, as some miners are understood to have been hunted down and shot while hiding, something that Phiyega is alleged to have covered up.
According to the reported findings, Phiyega failed to disclose that there were two scenes at which the 34 mine workers were gunned down, not one.
There is speculation that Phiyega could be relieved of her duties after the board’s findings, but she is said to be preparing to fight back after refusing a golden handshake.
With the past three police commissioners – Phiyega, Bheki Cele and Jackie Selebi – being non-police members, there have been calls for a core police person to be appointed to the hot seat.
Phiyega was a bank employee and social worker before joining the service and Cele and Selebi were ANC politicians before their redeployment to the top cop post.
The DA has, meanwhile, said that by refusing to prioritise the final report, Zuma was contributing “to instability in our police service and jeopardising prospects for more effective policing”.
“The refusal by the president to prioritise this report is both inexplicable and unacceptable,” said DA MP Zakhele Mbhele.
The opposition party called on Zuma to treat the report with urgency.
“Failure to do so borders on dereliction of duty and places the stability of the SAPS at risk, thus undermining the crime-fighting agenda,” it said.