Highlights from the RTI Commission of Inquiry

2013-08-15 00:00

AMONG the important issues that have come out of the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) commission of inquiry into the death of eight RTI recruits at Harry Gwala Stadium on December 27 and 28 last year are:

• There were only 90 posts to be filled, yet 34 000 people were short-listed and invited for the fitness test. 15 600 arrived for the first day on December 27 and a similar number arrived the following day.

• Participants started collapsing at 10 am on the first day; about 200 of those applicants were treated by paramedics, and this did not include those who had been taken to hospitals.

• On the day of the event, the South African Weather Service had issued a warning of extremely uncomfortable weather, and text warnings were sent to municipalities.

• When disaster struck, doctors at Northdale Hospital tried in vain to stop the process. Dr Llewellyn Patrick Kenny said he spoke to Sindi Zwane, an official at the Transport Department, but Zwane allegedly ignored the advice.

• Former ANCYL NEC member, Msunduzi Municipality councillor and the board chairperson of Northdale Hospital, Rachel Soobiah, testified that attempts to get the department to stop the event also fell on deaf ears.

• Msunduzi Municipality officials said they only heard about the event when disaster had already struck.

• No prior medical examinations were conducted on the applicants to assess and prepare them for the fitness test.

• Some of the deaths have been questioned. One recruit, Sanele Ngcobo, was found with a cut throat. A paramedic testified that she saw him slashing his throat repeatedly with a broken bottle outside the stadium on December 28.

• Another recruit, Thamsanqa Dlamini (25), spent two months in hospital after he collapsed after completing the mandatory four kilometre run on December 27. He only left hospital on February 20.

The commission is still continuing.

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