Man had epileptic fit, inquiry hears

2013-05-22 20:47

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Pietermaritzburg - A man who died after a fitness test in KwaZulu-Natal last year succumbed because of an epileptic fit, a commission of inquiry heard on Wednesday.

Ravenda Padayachee, SC, for the KwaZulu-Natal transport department, said this emerged from a medical report from Northdale Hospital.

According to the report, hospital staff worked on Sibonakaliso Mhlanga for 30 minutes but failed to resuscitate him.

The commission, sitting in Pietermaritzburg, was set up by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize to probe the deaths of eight job applicants during a fitness test in Pietermaritzburg in December.

The fitness test formed part of a process to select Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) job applicants.

More than 34 000 people qualified to apply for 90 advertised trainee posts.

A total of 15 600 applicants attended a fitness test at Harry Gwala Stadium, in Pietermaritzburg, on 27 December, and a similar number on 28 December.

The commission heard Mhlanga would have turned 31 on Wednesday.

A friend of his who also applied and underwent the test, Njabulo Manqele, told the commission when he saw Mhlanga at the hospital, he had severe bruises on his knees.

"What came to my mind was that he fell and people had trampled on him," he said.

Earlier, Padayachee said the advert for trainee positions at the KwaZulu-Natal transport department specified that a stringent physical assessment was required.

Manqele criticised the provincial government for giving only two days' notice of the fitness test, Padayachee said during cross-examination.

However, the advertisement stated that applicants had to be physically fit, he said. The job requirements were a senior certificate, a valid code B driving licence, and physical fitness.

Applicants also had to be younger than 35 and without a criminal record.

"Please note that successful candidates will be subjected to full medical examination to determine fitness before confirmation of appointment," the advertisement read.

Padayachee said if Manqele had read the advert he would not be criticising the government.

This week, Manqele told the commission he had travelled from Adams Mission, south of Durban, to Pietermaritzburg with his friend Mhlanga to participate in the 4km run.

The group of applicants Manqele and Mhlanga were in ran at 19:30 on 27 December. Manqele said his group was referred to as a "tsunami", because it had more than 500 people.

He could not remember whether it consisted of men and women.

On Tuesday, he testified that groups were split into manageable numbers and that men and women were separated.

The inquiry continues.

Read more on:    zweli mkhize  |  pietermaritzburg

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