Advocate says RTI witness is lying

2013-05-14 00:00

THE first witness to testify to the commission of inquiry into the ill-fated Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) recruitment exercise was called a liar by advocate Ravi Padayachee during cross-examination yesterday.

Representing the Transport Department, Padayachee accused Nonhlanhla Innocentia Mlambo (31) of “making up stories as she goes along”.

In an affidavit made after the incident, Mlambo had stated that she had not seen anyone collapsing during the fitness exercise on December 27.

Mlambo testified that she had given her account to evidence leader Sithembiso Kunene, but did not do the actual writing.

“The question was: ‘did you see anyone collapsing on December 27?’ to which I replied I had seen a woman collapsing. I was then asked if I had seen anyone collapsing on December 28, and I said I had not seen people collapsing on this day,” said Mlambo.

Padayachee said Mlambo was a liar. But the chairperson of the commission, advocate Thandi Norman, said he needed to explain the basis of his accusation.

Mlambo stood by her evidence, saying that she had a right to correct mistakes in her statement.

Padayachee also said Mlambo was not telling the truth when she said that she had been desperate for the job, because she had a business.

“Why would you say you were desperate for the job?” asked Padayachee.

Mlambo responded that the enterprise was not doing well and she was desperate for extra income to support the business.

Padayachee also pointed out that Mlambo had lied in her CV that she worked for Independent Newspapers group as a driver, whereas she was a contractor delivering newspapers.

Mlambo insisted that she worked for the media company as a contractor. “Our company distributes newspapers for the media company; therefore my interpretation of this arrangement is that I work for them,” she said.

But Padayachee read an affidavit written by Rogers Naidoo, a bureau office manager for the media company, in which he denies that Mlambo had ever been employed by the company as a driver since 2009.

The commission is investigating the deaths of eight people after taking part in a four-kilometre run during a fitness test as part of a recruitment exercise by the RTI at the ­Harry Gwala Stadium in December.

The inquiry continues today.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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