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Rustenburg - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega told mourners and police officers to be resilient at the funeral of an officer, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.
“I addressed the mourners and members of SAPS (SA Police Service) and encouraged them to be resilient under the circumstances, given the fact that our job at Marikana was continuing,” she said.
Phiyega was referring to the funeral of Warrant Officer Sello Ronnie Lepaku on August 19.
However, a video played to the commission of Phiyega addressing police officers at a parade on August 20, caused the public gallery to gasp.
“You did what you did because you were being responsible by ensuring South Africans are safe,” Phiyega said at the time over a megaphone.
“I want to thank you once more for doing what you did... All we did was our job, and to do it in the manner in which we were trained... Don't feel you are being persecuted as police - you were doing your work.”
People in the public gallery were shaking their heads as they watched the video.
Phiyega was giving evidence before the commission on the role played by the police in the events leading up to and on August 16
On that day, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were injured when the police opened fire near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana.
Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week. - Sapa