Witness breaks down in visit to fitness test site

2013-05-03 00:00

WITNESS Nonhlanhla Innocentia Mlambo sobbed uncontrollably yesterday as she showed commissioners where the tragedy of the RTI fitness test unfolded.

The drama happened during a visit to the Harry Gwala Stadium where the RTI held fitness tests for tens of thousands of job seekers in December.

The commission is investigating the deaths of eight people who collapsed after running in searing heat that day.

Mlambo broke down while showing the commissioners around the venue and pointing out where they had to wait in the blazing sun for hours.

At the stadium, the commissioners inspected the number of taps in the toilets and the number of stand-alone taps from which the test participants could drink.

They were supposed to run four kilometres within 30 minutes. No one provided them with water during the run, Mlambo had testified on Tuesday.

Yesterday, she pointed out where she fainted in front of paramedics after she had finished her run.

Relatives of the deceased expressed shock. “It is winter and yet today is so hot that one can only imagine what my son had to go through during that summer day,” a mother was overheard telling a social worker.

Another man, whose son died during the test, was overheard telling social workers that all he needed was closure and that he hoped justice would prevail.

Witnesses and their families are barred from speaking to the media during the inquiry.

The inquiry was adjourned to May 13-15 and 21-24, when Mlambo will be questioned by evidence leader Sithembiso Kunene, before being cross-examined by the Transport Department representative, advocate Ravi Padayachee.

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