Zwane may have lied about the urgency

2013-12-06 00:00

THE Transport Department’s human resources general manager, Mir­anda Sindi Zwane, may have lied to the RTI Commission of Inquiry about the urgency to fill 90 posts last year.

Earlier this week, Zwane testified that she made the decision to hold the fitness tests for traffic officer recruits based on a decision of the Transport Department’s management committee meeting held on November 15, 2012.

The commission asked her to produce minutes of the meeting to verify she was telling the truth.

The item did not appear in the minutes presented to the commission yesterday.

Zwane said the decision to hold the tests was a directive from the head of department Sbusiso Gumbi.

This might force the commission to bring the MEC for Transport Willies Mchunu and Gumbi to testify about the urgency to fill the posts as Zwane insists that her decision was as a result of the lifting of the moratorium that had been in place since 2009. The moratorium was allegedly lifted by Mchunu in October last year.

Commission chairperson Thandi Norman said the commission does not need the minutes produced by Zwane because they did not help the objectives of the commission.

Meanwhile, Zwane tried hard to convince the commission of the difficulty she faced after participants were told that the race had been temporarily stopped.

“People were heckling, saying they were fit and ready to run the fitness exercise,” she said.

She said she thought about the fact that armed traffic officers and police were present.

“I was thinking what would happen if these people wanted to jump us and — not to say that police or traffic officers were negligent — but what would happen if they shot participants?”

Evidence leader Sthembiso Kunene asked Zwane if she had communicated her thoughts with others at the stadium. She replied that she did not speak to anyone about her fears.

“Don’t you think that if you had talked to others about this maybe they would have advised you to stop the race and things could have turned out differently?” he asked.

She said, “There is a lesson to learn from all of this.”

Kunene told her that he had statements to the effect that two traffic officers who were present during the fitness tests wanted her to stop the race.

“You had been told on December 28 that a person had died and then why did you not revisit the decision you had taken the day before?” he asked.

Zwane said she did not think of that as there were people complaining that they were unemployed and had come from far and did not have money to return if she postponed the event.

Kunene also asked if Zwane visited those who were hospitalised. She said it had crossed her mind at the time but she could not do so because paramedics told her that were had no records of who was in the hospital.

She said she did not think about visiting them again at any other stage.

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