KZN man tells of deadly fitness test

2013-05-21 22:34
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - A man found his friend with a swollen chest and face at a Pietermaritzburg hospital after a recruitment fitness test, a commission of inquiry was told on Tuesday.

Njabulo Manqele said in Pietermaritzburg he touched and shook his friend thinking he was going to wake up.

But medical staff at the Northdale Hospital told him Sibonakaliso Mhlanga was dead.

Manqele found his friend after searching for him for about three hours. He was testifying in public hearings at a commission KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize established earlier this year.

Its brief is to probe the deaths of eight people at a fitness test conducted by the transport department in December.

The test formed part of a process to select Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) job applicants. More than 34 000 people qualified to apply for 90 advertised trainee posts.

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

Manqele said he travelled from Adam's Mission, south of Durban, to Pietermaritzburg with Mhlanga to participate in a 4km run at the Harry Gwala Stadium.

Manqele received a text message on Christmas day inviting him to participate in the test. He said the participants filled all the seats and the grandstands at the stadium.

No water

Around 14:30 the test was stopped because several people had collapsed, he said. Manqele said an RTI officer told him Northdale Hospital had instructed that proceedings be halted for a while because it could not cope with the number of people who had collapsed.

He said people started fainting around 12:30. Proceedings resumed by 16:30. Manqele's group was called to run at 17:30 but only ran at 19:30. Manqele and Mhlanga were in the same group.

He said there was no demarcated area for runners and no water, and by that time the stadium was dark.

Manqele said he finished running around 20:00, filled in a form and went to where he and Mhlanga had parked their car, where the two had agreed to meet.

By 21:30 Mhlanga had still not arrived. Around 23:30 he decided to go to Northdale Hospital.

A nurse showed him Mhlanga's takkies. When he confirmed they belonged to his friend, Manqele was shown the body.

Manqele said when the nurses uncovered his friend's body, he was happy because he had finally found the person he had been looking for.

When medical staff told him he was dead, he asked them to contact Mhlanga's mother to explain what had happened.

The hearings continue on Wednesday.

Read more on:    zweli mkhize  |  pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

How much food do you need to concentrate?

We have been taught that we need three meals a day in order to make it through the day and while most of us indulge in more than our fair share there is a large portion of South Africans who are living off barely enough to sustain them.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.