Deaths probe wrapped

2014-06-27 00:00

THE commission of inquiry into the deaths of aspirant traffic officers in December 2012 has finally wrapped up its work, Premier Senzo Mchunu said yesterday.

“We are glad that the commission has finally finished its work after delays caused by requests by the commission to interrogate more evidence,” Mchunu said.

The premier said the commission would now submit its report to the executive council for further deliberation. The report would thereafter be debated in the legislature and the provincial government would be expected to act on its recommendations.

The commission was set up by former premier Zweli Mkhize last year after the deaths of eight Road Traffic Inspectorate recruits in December 2012.

It was initially scheduled to conduct its work between March and August 2013, but was given an extension until March this year.

It was reported late last year that its budget had almost tripled from the amount initially allocated.

An amount of R5,5 million was initially budgeted by the Provincial Treasury, but further allocations took the commission’s total cost to R14,2 million.

The commission’s costs excluded the money separately spent by the Health and Transport departments on legal fees.

Mchunu launched a broadside at critics who previously claimed the postponements had worsened the anguish of the affected families.

“I must hasten to emphasise that as government we attach importance to thoroughness in the execution of the work of this nature.

“Some in other quarters used our attention to detail to create the impression that we were deliberately prolonging the anguish of the families of the victims. I want to assure members of this house that our hearts have always been with the families,” he said.

The families of some of the dead recruits said they were waiting eagerly for the outcome of the commission.

Lucia Sibisi, a relative of Ntuthuko ­Sibisi who died during the training session, said they had not heard anything about the commission being finalised.

She expected the commission to recommend that the bereaved families be compensated.

“I cannot speak in detail at the moment, but what I can say is that what should come out is that the government should compensate us for what happened,” she said.

Thembinkosi Nxumalo, a relative of Lenny Nxumalo, said they will be happy when the truth is finally out.

He said people should be held acountable for the deaths.

“If any of those people who died were sick, they would have died at home; they would not have died at the Harry Gwala Stadium.”

Nxumalo said the family were still struggling to come to terms with his son’s death.

“Right now we are suffering; he was the one who was supporting us.

“We attended the commission and we were told that we should wait for the outcome. Once it is out, we will go there and complain if there is a need to complain,” Nxumalo said.

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