By Crystal van Vyk
(theafricreport)South Africa’s national police commissioner Riah Phiyega on Thursday denied reports that she laughed and joked about the video footage of miners who were shot last year in the worst atrocities committed by the security forces post apartheid.
Phyega made the denials when she took the stand at a hearing by the Marikana Commission that was set up by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the killing of 34 striking miners last August.
“That was personally a very hurtful observation. It is not only inhuman, it is totally out of my personal character and not true,” she told the commission.
“I reject that with every part and measure of my being… What happened that day is regrettable.”
Phiyega said reading the report was hurtful and that nobody’s name should be “dragged” like that “for no reason”.
The commission also heard that Phiyega called the Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa on August 16 to inform him about the shooting and tell him she would “attend to the matter personally”.
The commission, which has been sitting since last year, has had evidence from miners, policing experts and trade unions about events leading up to the tragic event.
They are also looking into the circumstances surrounding the death of the miners last year.
Phiyega is expected to give evidence on the role played by police in the events leading up to the killings.
Seventy eight people were also injured when police opened fire near Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana in the country’s NorthWest Province.
Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.
Dressed in a black skirt-suit, Phiyega took her seat shortly after 9.30am in the Rustenburg Civic Centre and was sworn in by the commission’s chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam.
Phiyega was appointed by Zuma in June last year and had been in office for a couple of months when the shootings happened.