Phiyega charges: full political accountability must now follow
2 February 2016
The DA welcomes the decision by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to criminally charge suspended National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, and former North West Police Commissioner, Zukiswa Mbombo, in relation to their respective roles in the Marikana tragedy which saw 44 people lose their lives back in August 2012.
While we welcome this development, Riah Phiyega and Zukiswa Mbombo cannot be used as scapegoats for those who bore the ultimate political responsibility for the tragic events at Marikana. As such we will impress upon the SAPS to make recommendations to the Minister of Police,Nathi Nhleko, upon completion of their investigation in terms of section 207(2) of the Constitution. We will also write to the Acting Executive Director of the IPID, Israel Kgamanyane, requesting that he make public internal investigation that informed these charges so we can satisfy ourselves that all matters/persons were considered in its internal probe.
This follows IPID’s decision to follow the recommendations of the Farlam Commission in this regard. The DA has long called for such criminal charges to be pursued, and for full accountability to follow for all involved. This decision is vitally important for ensuring justice for the families and loved ones of those that died at Marikana.
Key political figures responsible – including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as then Police Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, then Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, and Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant – cannot be let off the hook.
These senior political figures prioritised big business and financial self-interest ahead of the lives of ordinary South Africans who were merely exercising their constitutional right to protest. Criminal charges ought to be brought against these senior political figures as well – not just Phiyega and Mbombo.
Moreover, compensation for families of those who lost their lives at Marikana is yet to occur. The families of those who died continue to suffer without financial support while President Zuma’s government drags its heels on this matter. They have been forced to resort to filing a civil claim against the Minister of Police to compel government to compensate them for their loss.
President Zuma ought to take responsibility for what happened and ensure that the families of those who died are compensated and those with the political responsibility for the tragedy are brought to book.
Anything less is a failure of leadership on the part of President Zuma.
Issued by Zakhele Mbhele, DA Shadown Minister of Police, 2 February 2016