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A large number of SAPS trainees are demanding that the new police intake recruitment process be halted amid allegations of bribery and rigging.

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    Nat Quinn

    A large number of SAPS trainees are demanding that the new police intake recruitment process be halted amid allegations of bribery and rigging.

    More than 1,000 South African Police Service (SAPS) trainees nationwide who passed all their assessment criteria tests but were omitted from the final list of recruits selected claim their names were replaced with the names of people who had allegedly paid bribes to recruitment officers.
    Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, the national police spokesperson, said on Tuesday that three people had been arrested following a preliminary report that indicated they were involved in collusion.
    She toldĀ Daily MaverickĀ that none of the three is an SAPS member, adding that investigations into the alleged irregularities of the recruitment and selection processes were continuing.
    The arrests relate to allegations that recruitment officers at SAPS academies accepted bribes from recruits so they could attend the academies without having to pass rigorous tests. Some of those who slipped through the cracks illegally were among the 10,000 new constables who marched out to the streets in December last year.
    Read more inĀ Daily Maverick:Ā ā€œFears that scores of recruits paid for entry into SA police collegesā€
    Following this report, the police confirmedĀ a nationwide probeĀ into the alleged corrupt recruitment of trainees.
    The fight for the trainees, referred to as ā€œSAPS excluded traineesā€, is spearheaded by whistle-blower and former cop Patricia Mashale. She told ParliamentĀ her life is at riskĀ because she lifted the lid on high-level police corruption.
    ā€œThese individuals approached me after hearing what Iā€™m doing for the SAPS dismissed members and came to me for assistance,ā€ she toldĀ Daily MaverickĀ on Tuesday.
    Mashale compiled a list of more than 1,000 ā€œSAPS excluded traineesā€ and forwarded it to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid). Jennifer Ntlatseng, the executive director of Ipid, acknowledged receipt of the allegations of corruption on 3 February.
    Ntlatsengā€™s response then was: ā€œThis letter serves to acknowledge receipt of a complaint relating to the recruitment of SAPS student constables since the year 2019. The Directorate will conduct the investigation in relation to the allegations made and will liaise with the affected individuals. Furthermore, the Directorate will communicate feedback to the affected individuals on progress made on their cases, respectively.ā€

    Memorandum of demands
    On Friday, 18 February, at least 500 ā€œSAPS excluded traineesā€ marched to SAPS headquarters. The group, led by national reservist coordinator Moses Mulaudzi, handed over a memorandum of demands to police management.
    Mulaudzi, in handing over the memorandum, emphasised that alleged corruption is the reason why more than 1,000 SAPS trainees were wrongfully overlooked and urged authorities to immediately rectify the situation.
    Their demands are:
    • An immediate call-up to go to colleges for those who passed their assessment for training;
    • The current intake of new police recruits be put on hold;
    • Those excluded in 2017 to receive first preference for the 2022/2023 intake;
    • The psychometric assessment must be terminated with immediate effect;
    • All candidates must be recruited from their own communities to eliminate corruption; and
    • A complete overhaul of all recruitment centres by removing all those who are involved in corruption.
    Human rights activist Mary de Haas, who also threw her weight behind the cause of the ā€œSAPS excluded traineesā€, earlier this month set out the problems in a letter to the chairperson and committee members of the Police Portfolio Committee under the heading ā€œGross Corruption in Selecting Student Constable Applicants for Training at SAPS Academiesā€.
    In hisĀ State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that since last year more than 10,000 new police members had graduated from police academiesĀ and a further 10,000 will be recruited and trained this year.
    However,Ā in light of the alleged corruption, De Haas has demanded that this recruitment process be halted until Ipid has concluded its investigations.
    She said that the new police constables to whom Ramaphosa referred were selected from the thousands who had applied following the opening of recruitment in 2017 ā€” and subsequently temporarily halted due to Covid-19 in 2020.
    ā€œRecruitment selection was carried out on a provincial basis. However, due to the corruption, the names of many hundreds of applicants from information currently available (over 1,000), who had passed all their assessment criteria tests, were omitted in the final list of recruits selected, and their names were replaced with the names of people who had allegedly paid bribes and had not undergone the same stringent selection tests.ā€
    De Haas said that what is particularly ā€œdisgracefulā€ is that among those who were successful in meeting the selection criteria detailed in SAPS regulations, but were not included among the new recruits, were SAPS reservists who had diligently worked with the police, risking their lives and gaining invaluable practical experience, before applying to become student constables.
    De Haas believes that candidates who met the criteria but were rejected in the previous recruitment cycle because of corruption should be automatically accepted into training as student constables.
    In response, SAPS spokesperson Mathe said that once the investigations were completed, those found to have colluded in the corruption, whether they are SAPS members or newly trained police officers, would be subjected to internal departmental processes.
    ā€œThe SAPS follow a zero-tolerance approach to corruption. In the past year alone, 46 police officers were dismissed for corruption-related offences. We are not afraid to take action against those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law,ā€ Mathe said.
    Meanwhile, Ipid spokesperson Lizzy Suping stated that the organisation was investigating corruption allegations related to the recruitment of new recruits.
    ā€œWe need to allow the investigation process to take its course. Ipid will pronounce on the outcome once the investigation is finalised,ā€ she said.


    Three arrests made so far in alleged police recruitment… (dailymaverick.co.za)

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