Phiyega thanked cops for ‘best of responsible policing’ at Marikana
The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has seen footage of a police video in which national commissioner of police General Riyah Phiyega thanked police officers for what they did at Marikana.
The voice of the videographer, presumably a police officer, is heard at the beginning of the video, saying the date is August 20.
This means it was shot just four days after police shot dead 34 people in Marikana on August 16 during a protest by more than 3 000 mineworkers employed by Lonmin.
The video shows officers standing at attention on a parade ground, before saluting Phiyega.
Phiyega is heard saying: “I trust that you had time to breathe, because that is all we had time for these past few days. Did you have time to breathe?”
The officers are heard responding collectively:
Phiyega then asks the same question a few more times and the officers again respond in the negative.
She goes on to address them, saying they should stay strong and that as leadership they recognised that they were going through challenging times.
“… Whatever happened represents the best of responsible policing,” Phiyega told the officers.
She said police had ensured that they maintained their oath of ensuring that all South African citizens are safe, “and that you equally are the citizens of this country and safety starts with you”.
“Thank you for what you did,” Phiyega said.
Her words drew a murmur of disbelief among the relatives of some of the people who were killed on the day who sat in the front rows of the public gallery.
The hearing continues.