Claims of brutality at KZN fitness test

2013-07-02 22:00
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - Police allegedly beat people who failed to obey instructions at a KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) fitness test, a commission of inquiry heard on Tuesday.

Minenhle Mazwi Mbandlwa said police dragged a man out of an area designated for successful applicants and that others were beaten.

Mbandlwa was testifying in Pietermaritzburg in connection with the death of Sanele Ngcobo, a job applicant who was found with a 13cm cut across on his neck after the fitness test.

He said the police warned the group to obey their instructions or risk being taken out of the stadium like another man from a different group.

Mbandlwa said successful applicants were crammed into a small area where they were told to sit down. They were made to wait for officers to pat their heads before being allowed to go and register their names, he said.

Anyone who got up before a police officer touched their head was grabbed, beaten or chased out.

It was not clear whether police or traffic officers guarded the applicants.

The commission was appointed by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize earlier this year to probe the deaths of eight people, who took part in a 4km run at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg in December.

It formed part of a fitness test for RTI job applicants.

Applicants

More than 34 000 people qualified to apply for the 90 advertised trainee posts.

A total of 15 600 applicants attended a fitness test on 27 December and a similar number on 28 December.

Mbandlwa, who was also Ngcobo's cousin, said some people were taken out of the area for successful applicants without registering their names.

Mbandlwa left the stadium after registered his name, and went to a car to wait for Ngcobo and another man, Nkosinathi Nzimande.

He later found Nzimande, but not Ngcobo.

An announcement was later made about a man who had been injured and taken to hospital, so he and his grandmother went to Grey's Hospital to look for Ngcobo.

A doctor told him Ngcobo had bled severely and could not be saved.

Mbandlwa said he asked the doctor if was possible for Ngcobo to commit suicide in this way, because nurses at the hospital said he had killed himself.

He said the doctor told him it was impossible for Ngcobo to cut his neck.

The commission continues on Wednesday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    zweli mkhize  |  pietermaritzburg
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