Visibly upset Phiyega leaves Parliament after Presidency drops suspension bombshell

OCTOBER 14, 2015

A visibly upset General Riah Phiyega left a meeting in Parliament on Wednesday, minutes after the Presidency announced her suspension as national police commissioner.

Phiyega was in the middle of a meeting to brief Parliament’s police committee on the South African Police Service.

She walked out of the committee room, leaving her bag behind, and was taken out through the closed off area of Parliament, quickly followed by some of her staff.

This took place after one of her staff members walked over to her and showed her something on a cellphone.

Phiyega would remain on suspension with full pay until the board of inquiry investigating her fitness to hold office had completed its work, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

The Farlam Commission, headed by retired Judge Ian Farlam, which investigated the deaths of 44 people killed during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, Rustenburg, in August 2012, recommended that Phiyega face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

"In terms of section 8(3)(a) of the South African Police Service Act, 1995, the president has suspended General Phiyega as national commissioner of the South African Police Service with immediate effect and on full pay," Presidency spokesperson, Bongani Majola, said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said President Jacob Zuma had considered Phiyega's representations on why she should not be suspended.

"The suspension is to endure pending any decision that is made following upon the recommendations of the board of inquiry into allegations of misconduct, her fitness to hold office and her capacity to execute official duties efficiently," Majola said.

Zuma announced last month that a board of inquiry, chaired by Judge Cornelis Johannes Claasen, had been appointed to look into allegations of misconduct against Phiyega.