NWest police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo retires

FILE PICTURE: National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega with Provincial Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo on August 17, 2012 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

North West police commissioner Lt-General Zukiswa Mbombo will retire at the end of the month, the provincial police said on Wednesday.

Mbombo was the provincial commissioner during the Marikana tragedy in 2012 which left 34 mineworkers dead. She testified at the Farlam Commission probing the incident.

In her testimony, Mbobo said there were blunders in the police communication systems used on day of the incident, August 16, 2012.

“Our biggest challenge was the communication problem and the issue that we also seriously injured people. Our people could not take enough photos of the scene,” she said, at the time.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to make the findings of the Farlam commission public. Zuma appointed retired judge Ian Farlam to chair a commission probing a shooting incident at Marikana in North West in 2012 in which 44 people were killed during labour-related unrest.

Rock drill operators at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana spearheaded a wildcat strike demanding a minimum monthly salary of R12, 500. Armed with spears, knobkerries, iron rod and pangas, they camped on top of a koppie (hill) near Nkaneng informal settlement in Wonderkop, refusing to descend and demanding to meet mine management at the koppie.

On August 16, 2012, 34 mineworkers were killed when the police fired at them, apparently attempting to disarm them. Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, had been killed in the preceding week.

After two years of public hearings, the commission handed its report to the presidency at the end of March. North West police spokesman Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said national police commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, would officially receive the “sword of command” from Mbombo on Friday in Potchefstroom.

It was expected that Phiyega would also name the new police commissioner for the province. A farewell gala dinner for Mbombo would be held in the evening on the same day.

Mokgwabone also said that Mbobo’s spokesman, Brigadier Thulani Ngubane, had resigned. He said Ngubane left at the end of April for “greener pastures”.

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