Recruit’s weeks of pain

2013-02-09 00:00

SIX weeks after he collapsed while doing the ill-fated Transport Department fitness test, Thami Dlamini (25) of Newcastle is still in hospital.

He doesn’t know when he might go home. And he can’t remember much about the running test, conducted in scorching heat, that put him in danger.

He suffered kidney failure brought on by dehydration.

Speaking to Weekend Witness from his hospital bed this week, he said he didn’t know if his life would ever return to normal.

“I was living a normal life before this. Nothing was wrong with me. I was healthy. I’ve never been sick or been to hospital,” Dlamini said.

“All I remember is that I had a blackout, and I woke up in a hospital bed.”

Thami had just completed his studies in IT at Boston College when he saw vacancies at the traffic department advertised.

“He got excited when the posts came out. A traffic officer is something he’d always thought about becoming,” his mother Thandeka Nkabinde said from Newcastle.

She said she was not happy with the Transport Department’s explanations.

“The last I heard from department was on the day that he landed up in hospital,” she said.

Thami’s father Sipho Dlamini — who was at Grey’s Hospital with him — said: “I’ve got this complaint that the department has not been doing enough.

“I asked my son the other day, and he said no one from the department had been there to see him in a long time.

“He needs to heal and go back to his normal life. We don’t know if he can go back to that because kidney failure is no small thing,” he said.

POLICE trying to piece together who might be held responsible for the deaths of eight would-be traffic officer recruits want to exhume the bodies of two of them.

The two, Bongiwe Mbatha (29) and Lungile Wamba (30), were buried without post-mortem examinations being done.

Police are also desperate to speak to witnesses as they try to unravel the tragedy that took place at the end of December, as 35 000 people did a fitness running test in searing heat.

Mbatha’s family have refused the request while Wamba’s father remains undecided.

A report on the incident in which eight people died at Harry Gwala Stadium has been completed and sent to Premier Zweli Mkhize, who has said he would set up a commission of inquiry.

Bongiwe’s mother Thoko Mbatha said digging up her daughter’s body wouldn’t bring her back.

Mbatha, from Ladysmith, said she would object to the police’s request.

“That will just bring me more pain. Exhuming her won’t bring her back, whether they [police] pay for it or not,” she said on Thursday. “They must just leave her alone.”

Wamba’s family said they hadn’t yet made a decision.

“We have already buried him,” said his father Mthetho Wamba.

“His mother is still badly affected by his death because he was the last born. We don’t know what the advantages and disadvantages of exhuming will be.”

Wamba was from Dordrecht in the Eastern Cape, where he was buried.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said the families couldn’t be forced to comply, although a court can permit it.

The premier’s spokesperson, Ndabenhle Sibiya, said an announcement about when the inquiry would begin would be made next week.

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