Job applicant ‘cut own throat’ after failing fitness test

2013-07-01 16:38

A man cut his own throat because he failed a KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) fitness test, a commission of inquiry has heard in Pietermaritzburg.

Ravenda Padayachee, SC, for the provincial transport department, said statements from a doctor, a paramedic, and a transport official stated that Sanele Ngcobo committed suicide.

All three did not see Ngcobo slitting his throat, but heard it from the people at the stadium, where the fitness test took place.

Ngcobo allegedly used a broken bottle to cut himself. There was a 13cm-long wound across his neck. Two doctors who operated on Ngcobo at Grey’s Hospital said he died of blood loss.

The commission is probing the deaths of eight people who took part in a 4km run at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg in December. This formed part of a fitness test for RTI job 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 December 27 and a similar number on December 28.

Ngcobo’s aunt, Thembi Ngcobo, said when she arrived at Grey’s Hospital and a nurse told her that her nephew had cut himself with a bottle, she did not believe it.

“When I saw him at the mortuary he had a plaster put on his neck from left to right,” she said.

“It was then that I realised that he was the one referred to as having committed suicide.”

She said her nephew, the father of a three-month-old son, was desperate to find a job because he wanted to take over raising his son.

“He told me that I had worked hard (raising his child). The following year he would go find work to relieve me,” she said.

Ngcobo had been taking care of her nephew since 2000 after his mother died. At the time of his death, Ngcobo was in his final year of study for a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Zululand.

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