RTI: Mourning mothers share pain at inquiry

2013-05-24 00:00

TWO mothers shared their pain of losing sons during a Road Traffic Inspectorate fitness test for job applicants that claimed the lives of eight people in December last year.

Sabathile Mhlanga, the mother of Sibonakaliso Mhlanga who died after running the four kilometre fitness test on December 27, was the third witness to give evidence to the commission of inquiry into the deaths.

She said: “I was not happy with the Transport Department sending an SMS during Christmas Day. I could not tell Sibonakaliso about my unhappiness because he was too excited that he was shortlisted.

“Sibonakaliso complained about the heat in the Harry Gwala Stadium and told me that it was terrible because people were collapsing.”

Her son had two children and his girlfriend was pregnant with his third child, which was due to be born yesterday, she said. He was earning R9 822,54 a month at a car manufacturing plant in Durban and was the breadwinner in a family of 15.

“When Sibonakaliso died, all my hope died with him …”

Mhlanga said she identified her son at the Fort Napier mortuary. “He had bruises on his cheek, body and knee and his body was swollen. This was caused by people who trampled on him, probably after he fell during the race,” she said.

Thandiwe Gumede, whose son Xolani died in hospital after five days, said: “My son left home on December 26 with his friend Sibongiseni Mhlongo to sleep over in Pietermaritzburg. They both participated in the race.”

Gumede, of Manguzi in northern KZN, said a friend phoned to tell her that Xolani had collapsed and was taken to hospital. “I had hoped that since he had regained consciousness then God would spare me his life because I heard that others had died,” she said.

On New Year’s Day she got a call from Xolani who was shouting “mother I’m in pain”. The next thing she was called by the hospital and told that her son had died.

A medical report indicated that Xolani had suffered renal impairment.

The inquiry continues today.

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