National News/09 March 2023,06:45am/ Staff Writer
South African Police Service trainees:image supplied
Staff Writer- A preliminary forensic investigation into the recruitment of SAPS police trainees has found more than 300 recruits were not among the hundreds of thousands that applied for training last year.
This was revealed to the police portfolio committee on Wednesday when the SAPS internal audit briefed MPs on the alleged irregular appointment following media reports and complaints received from reservists in June 2022.
“The objective of the forensic review was to determine whether there were irregular appointments of the new recruits on project 10 000 and whether there were qualifying personnel who were not called for training as recruits,” read the report.
According to the report, the review was conducted on a total of 523 666 registered applications that were received.
A total of 9 831 trainees had reported at SAPS training academies.
The investigation has cleared 4 356 trainees, who went through all processes of recruitment.
However, the probe was now focusing on 5 567 trainees, who included 1 502 reservist recruits as well as 1 301 student reservists, most of whom never worked as reservists and some that did not complete reservist training.
“Three hundred and thirty seven were not appearing on 523 666 applications received and captured on the Persap system,” the report read.
It stated that there were individual criminal cases which were reported to the anti-corruption section.
The report detailed that two cases, involving four people who are not employed by SAPS, were opened at Temba police station in August 2022 and the suspects were arrested and denied bail.
In Hillbrow, a SAPS employee allegedly attempted to bribe a recruitment officer with R10 000 for jobs for her children.
“The employee who is not attached to recruitment was arrested. The employee resigned before disciplinary steps could be taken,” the report stated, adding that the case was withdrawn due to no reasonable prospect of successful prosecution.
In another case in Edenvale, the Hawks are investigating a police officer who allegedly received money in exchange for placing a police trainee to the training academies.
“The suspect was a SAPS member and resigned after the investigation started,” it read.
The report stated that the forensic investigation was ongoing and was expected to be completed at the end of March.
It has also made several recommendations, including the continuous monitoring of identified risk during the recruitment process and the review of medical examinations for trainees which it deemed was prone to manipulation.
It also said that recruitment should do away with over-reliance on manual recruitment processes and that there should be strict supervision during all stages of the recruitment process until the placement of trainees in the academies.
“If trainees and recruitment personnel are found to have committed any misconduct in the recruitment process, the SAPS must invoke the relevant regulations of the SAPS’ discipline regulations,” it read.
Speaking at the meeting, Popcru’s Thulani Ngwenya said there was no synergy in dealing with identified corruption.
“We are of the view that the allegations of corruption compromise the credibility of SAPS recruitment process,” he said.
Ngwenya noted that it was alleged that 1 000 reservists were allegedly removed from the final list of successful candidates and replaced with the names of those who paid bribes.
“We are totally against acts of corruption and we urge the management of SAPS to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that investigations are completed and appropriate corrective measures are immediately effected,” Ngwenya said.
EFF MP Henry Shembeni said: “If recruitment officers can be corrupt and nothing is done shows that corruption can be done anyhow.”