15 January 2013

South Africa: IFP Urges KZN Premier to Institute Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into Stadium Deaths

press release

The IFP is perplexed by the continued silence of the authorities, including the KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mhkize, on the seven tragic deaths due to the botched staff recruitment drive in the Department of Transport over Christmas, that happened on the provincial government’s watch and that has been swept under the carpet with an internal inquiry.

“The extent of the tragedy which has claimed seven human lives and countless injuries warrants nothing less than a judicial commission of inquiry to identify those responsible for it and to ensure that the circumstances that led to it will not reoccur,” said Leader of the Official Opposition in KZN Blessed Gwala MPL.

The IFP has been shocked by the callous attitude of the provincial Department of Transport which shortlisted some 35 000 applicants for 90 traffic officer posts with the KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate, some of them without a driver’s license, for an endurance test which was conducted in sweltering heat in an overcrowded stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

“The MEC for Transport has brazenly failed to take responsibility for the incident despite the fact that he is the executive authority in the department and no official under his command has been taken to task for devising or organising such a bizarre recruitment process,” said Gwala.

The IFP feels that only an independent commission of inquiry chaired by a retired judge can do justice to the investigation of the circumstances of this tragedy, identify the lines of responsibility for it, and recommend measures that must be put in place to prevent such incidents from reoccurring in the department in future.

“It now falls to the Premier to approach the KZN Judge President to recommend a suitable individual to chair a judicial commission of inquiry into this incident and ensure an independent investigation that will assign personal responsibility for the tragedy and offer closure to the families of the seven victims,” said Gwala.

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