IFP joins call for judicial inquiry into RTI deaths

2013-01-16 00:00

KWAZULU-Natal will have to wait a few more weeks to learn more about the formal inquiry into a fitness test for traffic officer positions that claimed the lives of eight people in Pietermaritzburg last month.

“The processes of forming the formal inquiry is under way,” said Ndabezitha Sibiya, spokesperson for Premier Zweli Mkhize, yesterday.

Sibiya said the provincial government would communicate how it would operate only when the commission of inquiry was constituted.

“That process has not been started. We don’t want to rush things. We want the inquiry to be thorough and be independent. No people in the government will form part of the inquiry,” he said.

“Right now the cabinet is in recess and it will reconvene in a few weeks.”

Sibiya was speaking amid mounting calls for a judicial commission of inquiry into the traffic recruits’ deaths.

Yesterday, the Inkatha Freedom Party added its voice to demands by the Democractic Alliance and the KZN Christian Council for a judicial inquiry.

The leader of the IFP in the KZN Legislature, Blessed Gwala, said the extent of the tragedy in which eight young people died warranted nothing less than a judicial inquiry.

He said the IFP had been shocked by the callous attitude of the provincial Department of Transport, which shortlisted some 35 000 applicants for 90 traffic officer posts for an endurance test that was conducted in sweltering heat in an overcrowded stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

“The MEC for Transport has brazenly failed to take responsibility for the incident, despite the fact that he is the executive authority in the department and no official under his command has been taken to task for devising or organising such a bizarre recruitment process,” said Gwala.

The IFP felt that only an independent commission of inquiry, chaired by a retired judge, could do justice to the investigation of the circumstances, identify the lines of responsibility and recommend measures to be put in place to prevent such incidents in future.

“It now falls to the Premier to approach the KZN Judge President to recommend a suitable individual to chair a judicial commission of inquiry into this incident and ensure an independent investigation that will assign personal responsibility for the tragedy and offer closure to the families of the seven victims.”

Sibiya said leaders of political parties, the society and non-governmental organisations should co-operate with the planned inquiry to ensure that there was accountability and transparency.

“If there are inputs to strengthen the inquiry, they will be considered by the cabinet,” he said.

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