Commission warns legal teams over delays

2014-01-24 00:00

ROAD Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) commission of inquiry chairperson Advocate Thandi Norman yesterday urged legal representatives for the Department of Transport and those representing the families to pay heed to the time constraints placed on the commission.

The commission experienced long delays yesterday as witnesses were asked to add information to their statements. The commission only has until the end of February to wrap up the evidence and hear arguments from the legal teams.

Witnesses have submitted their evidence in the form of affidavits and are now being cross-examined by the legal teams about the details contained in their statements.

There are many contradictions in versions of the numerous witnesses who testified about the fitness tests after which eight people died and the events leading up to them.

The cross-examinations have been lengthy and time consuming. To date, the cost of the inquiry into the RTI recruitment has tripled since the commission began last year. The KwaZulu-Natal treasury initially allocated a budget of R5,5 million and it is expected to exceed R15 million.

The legal teams are focusing on the procedures followed by the Department of Transport prior to the event. They are also examining the actions of the staffers who attended the event. Staff of the Department of Health, which supplied medical services for the two-day fitness tests, have also been questioned as to their preparedness and that of the traffic officials who attended the event.

Norman reminded the legal teams that this was not a criminal case and, therefore, witness statements could be accepted as evidence unless there was a substantial reason for cross-examination.

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