Jean-Jacques Cornish

Claassen inquiry finds Riah Phiyega should be sacked

Opposition Congress of the People says suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega should not have to shoulder all the blame for what happened when South African police gunned down 34 striking miners in 2012.

This is after a board of inquiry set up by President Jacob Zuma concluded that she is unfit to hold office and should be sacked, according to the City Press newspaper on Sunday

The Farlam commission  of inquiry into what’s become known as the Marikana massacre found the suspended commissioner guilty of misconduct.

The shooting by police of 34  miners demanding a salary increase evokes memories  of the heavy handed, often lethal,  enforcement action during apartheid.

COPE’s  Dennis Bloem says, Riah Phiyega cannot take the blame on her own. Police minister Nathi Mthethwa and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was as shareholder in the mine,  must also face censure  for what happened in Marikana.

The opposition  Democratic Alliance is asking the portfolio committee on police to table findings of the inquiry before parliament.

Phiyega’s lawyers says they will not be commenting on reports that their client has been given the boot until the board makes the findings available to them.

Phiyega chose not to testify before the board of inquiry under Judge Neels Claassen that earlier this year concluded its public hearings into whether she is fit to hold office.

Classen found Phiyega did not tell the Farlam commission that there were in fact two crime scenes at Marikana: the first where the miners advancing on the police were gunned down and the second where police pursued and shot fleeing mine workers, many of whom were killed while hiding behind rocks.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.