Faced with possible revolt

2013-12-05 00:00

“IF I stopped the event more people would have been hurt, including us.”

That was the opinion of the general manager for human resources for the Transport Department, Miranda Sindi Zwane, yesterday, as she defended her decision in front of the RTI Commission of Inquiry to continue with the recruitment process despite several calls to stop the event.

She faced a grilling from the Health Department legal representative advocate Thulani Khuzwayo over her determination to continue the event despite concerns that she was putting more people’s lives in danger as hospitals said they could not cope with the influx of patients.

Khuzwayo read an affidavit from a paramedic who testified that Zwane had refused to heed their call and even threatened to call Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu to speak to his counterpart in Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

Zwane insisted she could not stop the event because she faced a possible revolt from participants who were eager to participate despite the danger they were facing.

“I told them that we could not be dictated to by doctors on whether to stop the event because they were not in the stadium and did not know what we were faced with,” she said.

Yesterday, the commission also confirmed that it was indeed the correct schedule of 40 700 participants that was presented on Tuesday, which Zwane asked for time to verify.

She wanted to double check if it was the correct document because it bore the names of participants who should not have been shortlisted as they were over the age of 35. If they had been excluded, the number of participants would have been drastically reduced.

Zwane said two officials in the department had decided to short-list people who were 35 years and 364 days old because they would still have qualified to go to the traffic training college, but had not informed her of their decision.

Khuzwayo suggested that there may have been something sinister in Zwane’s determination to hold the event despite several calls even before it started from senior officials from the department who asked her to reschedule the fitness testing for replanning. She she ignored their call.

Zwane’s decision to hold the event was based on a 2009 moratorium to stop advertising critical posts, which was alleged to have been lifted in October 2012 when the department could begin advertising priority posts, including the 90 traffic officer trainee posts.

“We had to fill in these posts because we were also thinking about people that are dying on our roads because we have a shortage of traffic officers,” she said.

She was accused by Khuzwayo of going against the advice of medical professionals — both doctors and paramedics — instead threatening to call the Transport MEC.

“I told them they can’t dictate us to stop the event,” said Zwane.

Event organisers have been accused of poor planning in all aspects and Zwane has been fingered as the main culprit.

The commission may have to resort to calling MEC Mchunu and his head of department Sibusiso Gumbi to clarify whether there was any urgency to fill the posts as suggested by Zwane.

It has been established that the decision to lift the moratorium was signed in July 2012 by three senior officials at the department, but Mchunu is said to have only signed it in October.

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