Fitness deaths: Transport department didn’t follow own rules – report

2014-08-13 15:50

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The KwaZulu-Natal transport department did not abide by its own rules during a recruitment process for traffic police that resulted in the deaths of eight people, premier Senzo Mchunu has said.

He said these were the findings of a commission of inquiry that was tasked with investigating the events that led to the deaths during a fitness test.

“No matter how uncomfortable and painful for us as government, we will not hesitate to take corrective and preventative action where it is required,” Mchunu told reporters in Pietermaritzburg today.

“Therefore I will not hesitate to acknowledge the grave errors that led to this tragedy.”

Mchunu said that the department had no regulations of its own related to the carrying out of fitness tests.

The commission had recommended compensation to the families of the victims as well as disciplinary procedures to be undertaken against four transport department officials.

Mchunu said they would undertake negotiations with the families over compensation.

The report had also recommended investigations against some officials for submitting fraudulent minutes of a meeting to the commission.

The eight people died when they took part in a 4km run at Pietermaritzburg’s Harry Gwala stadium in December 2012.

This formed part of a fitness test for Road Traffic Inspectorate job applicants. More than 40 000 people qualified to apply for 90 advertised trainee posts. Of these, 20 000 applicants attended a fitness test on December 27 and a similar number on December 28.

The report would not be released to the media until the families have had time to examine it.

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