RTI inquiry: acting safety manager ‘had no experience’

2014-01-27 00:00

THE man who was the acting safety manager at the Road Traffic Inspectorate’s (RTI) disastrous recruitment event on December 27 and 28, 2012, admitted on Friday that he had no experience in recruiting trainees or running an event of that kind.

Petros Sibiya was being questioned by advocate Nomsa Khuzwayo at the RTI Commission of Inquiry last week. The inquiry, chaired by senior counsel Thandi Norman, is nearing the end of its investigation into the deaths of eight recruits after the fitness testing event held at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

Advocate Khuzwayo, SA Legal Aid representative for the families of the deceased, pointed out that as a control provincial inspector for the Transport and Traffic Investigation Unit (TTIU), the training Sibiya did was for qualified traffic officers in how to examine vehicles. Sibiya was grilled for hours by Khuzwayo and advocate Ravi Padayachee, who is representing the Department of Transport.

Earlier in the day, there was anger in the audience after Sibiya described how, despite advice from many quarters to stop the event because the hospitals were full of casualties from it and the weather was too hot, the department’s general manager for Human Resources, Sindi Zwane, and advocate Simo Chamane had ruled that it must continue.

Sibiya, who helped plan the event with his supervisor, Senior Control Provincial Inspector Hamilton Nzim­akwe, said he believed there was sufficient water for the 40 700 runners, because there were many taps available, including in the toilets.

Sibiya told Khuzwayo that a document of a shortlist for the event, which contained his name, was a fake. “This is a manufactured document. It’s got my name but I wasn’t part of it,” he claimed. “My son applied and wasn’t shortlisted. If I was part of it, I would have shortlisted him,” he said.

Sibiya will be questioned by the Department of Health’s legal representative tomorrow.

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