Dying for a job: Lindokuhle Kunene (32)

2013-02-03 09:59

The tragic deaths of eight people in a fitness test for aspirant traffic officers have been forgotten all too soon. Sphumelele Mngoma revisits their stories.

Kunene had a certificate in business management, but he couldn’t find a job. So he worked as a taxi driver.

His desperation for a better job was fuelled by his desire to provide his two-year-old son with a good education.

Kunene received an SMS from the provincial department of transport just after Christmas Day lunch. He and other successful candidates from his area hired a taxi for the long drive to Pietermaritzburg.

They left Newcastle at 12am on Wednesday (December 26) to make the 6am deadline at the Harry Gwala Stadium.

It was only through his sister’s persistent calls that Kunene’s family learned from a paramedic that he was admitted to hospital.

He was in regular contact with his younger sister, Mpume, who also called frequently to check up on him.

“He told her that it was hot and that there was no water?.?.?.?but he had banked on the fact that he could drive well. He was confident that the job was as good as his,” said his father, Albert.

When it started getting late and he had not arrived home, Mpume kept calling his phone, which rang unanswered.

A paramedic eventually answered, saying that he was busy with him. When they called later, a nurse told them he had died.

“It was hard for me to see my child lying in a mortuary bleeding like a slaughtered ox,” said Albert.

What was also hard was the treatment they (the family) received from a transport official at the stadium who insisted on finishing a packet of chips when Kunene’s sister kept asking for help in finding his personal belongings.

The Kunenes have still not found his identity document and the driver’s licence he had with him.

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