EMRS man tried to stop KZN fitness test

2013-08-14 17:12
Harry Gwala Stadium (Picture: The Witness)

Harry Gwala Stadium (Picture: The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - An Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) manager tried to stop a deadly KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) fitness test, an inquiry in Pietermaritzburg heard on Wednesday.

"She [transport department official Sindi Zwane] said they do not take orders from doctors," EMRS sub-district manager Sibusiso Dlamini said.

"She said she would consult the MEC, everything that was going on was in their hands."

He was testifying before a commission of inquiry probing the deaths of eight people, who took part in a 4km run at the city's Harry Gwala Stadium. He became emotional while giving evidence and cried when talking about what happened at the meeting.

Dlamini said he tried to stop the fitness test on the first day, 27 December, at a meeting between EMRS and transport department officials at 14:30. This was because many of the participants had collapsed and local hospitals were overflowing.

The test formed part of a fitness test for RTI job applicants. More than 34 000 people qualified to apply for 90 advertised RTI trainee posts.

Of these, 15 600 attended a fitness test on 27 December, and a similar number on 28 December.

"After the meeting I left, went to sit down next to the gate and cried," Dlamini said.

"What was painful is that most of the runners were black, our people."

At the meeting, some people agreed the test should be stopped, but others disagreed as they felt that the process had already started, he said.

Dlamini said an argument in favour of continuing was that some people had come from afar. He said things were chaotic when the test resumed.

"When groups had to take off at the gate, some people fell because they were pushing each other."

He described the participants as being dehydrated, deluded, and hysterical.

"Others were doing things that were not understandable. They were pulling their hair and taking off their clothes," Dlamini said.

Read more on:    rti  |  pietermaritzburg

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