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Pietermaritzburg - A commission of inquiry has been appointed to investigate the deaths last year of eight Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) applicants, KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday.
Delivering his state-of-the-province address at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg, Mkhize said the commission would have full powers to investigate the deaths.
“We are determined to handle this matter strictly within the framework of the law and order, to ensure that the possibility of such 1/8a 3/8 tragedy ever happening again is eliminated,” Mkhize said.
The eight recruits died during a training session conducted in sweltering heat at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on December 27.
Their deaths generated an outcry by their families and the public, prompting the transport department to halt the programme.
The premier told his audience Ä which included Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, members of the provincial legislature, and business and religious community leaders Ä that the deaths had “wounded” many in the province.
“As government, we are still reeling from shock following the unfortunate deaths, and we apologise to the families for the delay,” said Mkhize.
He said the province had yet to consult with national government on the matter.
The commission would be chaired by advocate Thandi Norman, who would be assisted by Bishop Rubin Phillip, advocate T Mthembu, attorney Sithembiso Kunene, and Bongekile Zulu.
During a memorial service in January, Mkhize told mourners the deaths had traumatised people even beyond the borders of the province. - Sapa