Fitness test: Call for MEC to resign

2013-06-03 00:00

RESIGN and take action against the officials who were responsible for the traffic recruitment drive that led to the deaths last December.

That’s the call from the Democratic Alliance to Transport MEC Willies Mchunu.

“Indeed we have a commission of inquiry, but this does not absolve the department from proceeding with an internal investigation and action.

“The MEC has defied this house by refusing to present its report to the transport portfolio committee, which it claims has been presented to the premier,” the DA’s Radley Keys said.

Keys repeated the DA’s call for Mchunu to resign or be removed from office.

“This would be to respect those that died at the hands of his department,” he said.

Keys said the fitness test for aspirant traffic officers had been absolute chaos, characterised by chaotic parking, the Harry Gwala stadium overwhelmed with more people than it was legally allowed to accommodate, insufficient toilet facilities, inadequate provision of water and no medical facilities for the thousands who came.

“These arrangements guaranteed a threat to the lives of the applicants, and indeed eight young people died on the day and at least a further three in the weeks thereafter,” he said.

The IFP’s Joshua Mazibuko said Premier Zweli Mkhize should provide interim reports at three-monthly intervals on the commission.

“I … urge the MEC to make the premier aware that we expect him to share those interim reports with this house. It is in fact in the MEC’s own political interest to ensure that the premier does this,” Mazibuko said.

“By sharing the reports with this house, the premier will be salvaging some semblance of credibility for his government,” he said.

Responding to Keys, Mchunu said when the truth regarding the fitness tests emerged, necessary action would be taken against anybody who would be implicated by the commission, including himself.

He accused the DA and IFP of using the unfortunate incident to score political points.

Mkhize instituted a commission of inquiry when a number of people died while participating in the fitness test to become traffic officers.

Although there were only 90 vacancies, the department received 150 000 applications and shortlisted about 40 700 candidates.

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