Stadium booking a mystery

2013-07-17 00:00

WHO gave permission for the Transport Department to use the Harry Gwala Stadium on the fateful days of December 27 and 28?

This was the main question at yesterday’s sitting of the RTI recruitment commission of inquiry, investigating the death of eight traffic recruits who ran the four-kilometre fitness exercise at Harry Gwala in December.

Accused by his senior manager Kwenza Khumalo in his testimony on Monday of flouting the booking procedure, event organiser at the Msunduzi Municipality Victor Phetha yesterday denied that he was responsible for authorising the use of the stadium by the Transport Department. “I was at the stadium, but I was not representing Msunduzi Municipality; I was there in my personal capacity,” he said.

He said on December 26, he was called by a Transport Department official who asked him to provide a PA system (sound system) for the two-day event.

Phetha said they met at the stadium to discuss where the sound system would be placed during the event.

“I was on leave for the two days and I have a PA system which I use during weekends … it is my private business,” he said.

He said he could never have authorised the use of such a big municipal property because he did not have the permission to do so.

He said even if he had been contacted by the Transport Department, he would have referred them to the booking clerk as the availability of the venue would have to be confirmed by the booking clerk.

He said he charged the department R10 000 for the use of his sound system for the two days.

Phetha also said he had no idea that Khumalo had recommended that he be charged for misconduct at the time because he had not been subjected to any disciplinary hearing by the municipality.

Phetha also denied meeting Khumalo at the stadium, as Khumalo was reported as saying on Monday, saying he had been on the sound desk all day, and he could not have met him.

Another witness, Jabulani Nene, an administration officer responsible for bookings at the municipality, also confirmed that there was no formal booking made by the Transport Department.

He said they made out an invoice for the department for using the stadium but he never sent the invoice because “I did not know who to send it to”.

Nene said he would never have granted permission because the number of participants exceeded the carrying capacity of the Harry Gwala stadium.

Nene showed the commission his booking register, which showed no entries for the booking of the stadium for the two days. This would have been filled in, had a booking been made.

The mystery of who at the Transport Department gained authority to use the stadium will have to wait until July 29, when the commission resumes.

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