Families want heads to roll in Dept of Transport

2013-01-05 00:00

FAMILIES of the applicants for traffic inspectorate jobs who died following a gruelling training session in searing heat last week said Transport Department officials mistreated them in the wake of the tragedy and that they want the officials responsible for the debacle to be fired.

Nompumelelo Kunene from Newcastle, whose brother Lindokuhle Kunene (30) died in Northdale Hospital, said that the family was not told by the department that her brother had fallen ill.

“I phoned him because I wanted to know how the fitness test went, but his phone was answered by para­medics. That’s when we decided to go to Pietermaritzburg.

“I am disgusted with the way the department treated us.

“They told us to go and look for my brother’s ID at Harry Gwala Stadium. When we got there, the person in charge did not care; she was eating chips,” said Kunene.

“She asked us to wait for her until she had finished and, when she looked for it, she couldn’t find it.”

She said that they still did not have her brother’s ID and she felt that knowing her brother had died, the least the department could do was make an effort to find the document, which they needed to get his death certificate.

Kunene said that the department should explain to the families what had happened, why it had shortlisted so many people for just 90 posts, and why it made them run in the hot weather.

The grieving family of Ntuthuko Sibisi (28), from Mpumalanga near Hammarsdale, said they were called by Grey’s Hospital nurses at 11 pm on Friday and told that he had been admitted. The department had not contacted them.

“The nurse said his condition was serious and we needed to be at the hospital. We couldn’t go as we had no transport. We waited until the following morning.

“By the time we got to the hospital, he had already passed away. We were not able to be with him during his last minutes,” said Thandiwe Sibisi, Ntuthuko’s grandmother.

She said the department had raised the family’s hopes by calling applicants for job interviews.

“Now we are planning funerals. If we knew that this would happen, and how they were going to be treated, we would have refused [to let them go for the interview] when they said they were going for this test,” said Sibisi.

Sanele Ngcobo (22), from Sobantu, was buried yesterday.

His relatives were too distraught to speak to Weekend Witness, but one of the mourners said several family members were upset at the presence of a Transport Department official, whose name is known to Weekend Witness.

When she stood up to speak, she was asked to sit down.

Ngcobo’s aunt Nonjabulo Ngcobo said the department had paid for food for the funeral.

The families who spoke to Weekend Witness said they wanted the department to fire whoever had caused the tragedy, as they believe it could have been avoided.

Lenny Alson Nxumalo, from Woodlands, will be buried today, as well as Kunene, who will be buried in his hometown, Newcastle.

The funeral of Emmanuel Xolani Gumede (29) from Manguzi will also take place today.

The Department of Transport has still not officially released the names of the eight who died in the recruitment tragedy. Weekend Witness ascertained the names through speaking to the families.

The others who died include Sbonakaliso Mhlanga (30) from Umbubulu on the South Coast; Gladys Bongiwe Mbatha (29) and Lungile Wamba (30).

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said they are investigating eight inquest dockets and appealed to anyone with information to contact police.

Anyone with information should contact Captain Pieter van Zanten at 033 845 7722 or 079 500 0592, or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

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