Commission of inquiry to probe fitness test deaths

Traffic officers at a road block. (Gallo)

Traffic officers at a road block. (Gallo)

A commission of inquiry must be established to investigate the deaths of seven aspirant traffic officers in Pietermaritzburg, the SACP have said.

"The party believes that whatever action is taken should be determined by the outcome of the commission of enquiry," provincial SA Communist Party secretary Themba Mthembu said in a statement.

On Saturday, KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Willies Mchunu suspended all tests for Road Traffic Inspectorate jobs after seven people died while applying for jobs.

Mchunu's office would investigate the matter. More than 34 000 people had qualified to apply for the 90 advertised trainee posts.

A total of 15 600 applicants attended a fitness test at the Harry Gwala stadium on Thursday, and a similar number on Friday. An unknown number of them collapsed due to the heat. Many were taken to hospital.

The SACP in KwaZulu-Natal commended Mchunu for his swift action. The Inkatha Freedom Party called on Mchunu to step down.

"What happened in Pietermaritzburg was a classic display of being power-drunk, to an extent treating ordinary suffering people as subhuman.

"No one in their right mind could in the first place short-list about 35 000 people for just 90 jobs," IFP MPL Blessed Gwala said.

He called on Mchunu and his head of department to step down until the commission had completed its work. – Sapa

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