Brother tells of heartache

2013-06-26 00:00

A MAN yesterday described how the death of his younger brother, Lungile Wamba, after the botched RTI recruitment drive forced him to close his business.

Three days after his brother’s death, he was informed that Lungile had been short-listed for another job he had applied for.

Mthetho Wamba was testifying at the commission of inquiry into the deaths at the recruitment drive in Alexandra Park in December last year.

Wamba said his younger brother matriculated in 2001, went to Cape Town, and then came to live with him in Rustenburg, working as an assistant bus mechanic from 2002 to 2007. “After that he assisted me as the manager for my car wash and driving school businesses in Mount Fletcher, a job that he did from 2007 until December 2012,” he said.

Wamba said after his younger brother’s death on December 28, he was forced to close down the businesses because he could not find any­one to replace him.

He said that he last spoke to Lungile on December 27 to find out if he and his friends had arrived safely in Pietermaritzburg for the fitness test the following day.

“I never spoke to him again because we were busy preparing for the return of my son from initiation school. I had gone to fetch the would-be man from the mountain on December 28,” he said.

Wamba said when he returned home, his wife told him that Lungile had collapsed, but because he had to take care of a lot of people he only focused on the task at hand.

He said he was contacted by Sebenzile Thafeni, a fellow recruit who had accompanied his brother to the fitness test, who told him that he had received a call from Grey’s Hospital and that Lungile was dead.

Wamba said he only came to Pietermaritzburg on the Monday and then received a call from the Health Department in Bloemfontein informing him that Lungile had been short-listed to work in the ambulance service there.

“Lungile had bruises on his forehead, his mouth was swollen and fluid was coming out of his nose when I saw his body at the hospital mortuary,” said Wamba.

He said Lungile’s death caused such grief at home that he would not be shocked if his mother were to die from this experience.

He said the cause of death was hyperthermia, meaning that “his body had absorbed more heat than it could release”.

Wamba was very angry with the Transport Department officials for the poor planning that allegedly led to the death of eight people.

During cross-examination, senior counsel Ravi Padayachee for the Transport Department, told Wamba that the conditions in Harry Gwala were no different from those in Cape Town when Lungile had undergone the fitness test to become a metro police officer.

But Wamba insisted that in Cape Town there was better planning compared to KwaZulu-Natal.

The cross-examination continues today.

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