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Premier misses fitness test deadline: DA

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu has failed to meet a deadline to release the findings of an inquiry into the deaths of eight people, the DA said on Wednesday.

The final report was due on March 31, Democratic Alliance spokesman Radley Keys said.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu. Credit: Independent Newspapers

“In failing to stick to his own deadline, the premier and his ANC-led executive have shown little regard for the pain and suffering experienced by these families,” Keys said.

A commission of inquiry was established to investigate the deaths of eight people who took part in a 4km run at Pietermaritzburg's Harry Gwala Stadium in December 2012. This formed part of a fitness test for Road Traffic Inspectorate job applicants.

More than 40 000 people qualified to apply for 90 advertised Road Traffic Inspectorate trainee posts. Of these, 20 000 attended a fitness test on December 27, 2012 and a similar number on December 28.

Keys said families of the deceased had waited for more than a year for the inquiry to complete its work.

“For KwaZulu-Natal taxpayers, who have largely funded the probe, the delays raise serious questions around the vast sums of money spent without any visible resolution for action against department of transport officials, who may be found responsible for poor planning leading to the deaths of these young people,” he said.

Keys said R14.5 million had been spent on the inquiry.

The premier's spokesman Ndabezinhle Sibiya said the DA's statement was aimed at sowing confusion.

“This is the worst form of political posturing as the party is blatantly using the suffering of the families of those who died during the recruitment process to advance narrow political interests.”

Sibiya said the provincial government had pleaded with political parties to allow the commission to do its work without interference.

“The unwarranted attack on... Mchunu is unnecessary as the work of the commission is conducted publicly, not behind closed doors.”

He said the commission started its work last April it had had 103 days of oral evidence from 54 witnesses.

“Currently, the commission is finishing its work and there are four witnesses that still have to be called to deal with crucial evidence,” Sibiya said.

Mchunu was expecting to receive a report on the inquiry by the end of May, he said.

“Since this incidence occurred, our thoughts have always been with the families of the victims,” Sibiya said.

Sapa

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