PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma must suspend national police commissioner Riah Phiyega pending the outcome of an inquiry into her fitness to hold office, the DA said yesterday.
The presidency said in a statement that Zuma gave Phiyega an opportunity to make written representation to him on why she should not be suspended.
“This is exactly the process that one goes through. He must go ahead with the suspension,” Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard told News24. “If not, it leaves her with far too much power.”
The party however, welcomed Zuma’s decision to institute the inquiry, saying that besides the report by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, a “myraid other issues” regarding Phiyega’s tenure had to be considered. Earlier in the month, the DA submitted a 16-page document to Zuma with reasons why she should be fired,
The presidency said in a statement on Friday night: “President Jacob Zuma has written to… Phiyega, informing her of his intention to institute an inquiry into the allegations of misconduct and/or lack of fitness for the office that she occupies and/or her ability to execute her duties efficiently with regard thereto, or any other conduct which may have a bearing on her position as head of the police service”.
It said Zuma had considered the report by the commission, and its recommendations on Phiyega.
The commission, headed by retired judge Ian Farlam, investigated the deaths of 44 people killed during strike-related unrest at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana, Rustenburg, in August 2012. It recommended in its report, released in June, that Phiyega face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.
According to a report by City Press earlier in August, sources inside and close to the police leadership told the publication that Phiyega was expected to argue that the Marikana shooting took place only two months after she was appointed.
She would also reportedly say she had trusted that senior police officers knew what they were doing in handling the crisis.