Johannesburg - A Joburg Metro Police Academy fitness assessment has been marred by allegations of extreme disorganisation, poor medical preparation and an alleged assault.
Wednesday saw thousands of external candidates arrive at the academy in the early morning to participate in a 5km run around Booysens that would determine if they would be viable future JMPD officers.
But the run ended in two people collapsing and nine others requiring medical attention.
Dozens of applicants - even some who had succeeded in the race’s time trials - said the event was poorly organised and was “unfair”.
The large number of runners were separated into groups running at different times, with women given 40 minutes and men half-an-hour to complete the race.
But some runners complained that because they were running in the wrong groups, they were told they had failed, even if they made it before the time limit was up. Other runners said they had spotted fellow competitors getting into cars to ensure they arrived ahead of the cut-off time.
One runner, Thabo Mkhonza, said that when he tried to dispute his failure with instructing officers, four of them began pushing him around, slapping him three times before telling him to leave.
Yet another complaint was about the lack of medical preparation before the first runners collapsed. Some applicants said ambulances arrived only after they were contacted by police officials.
None of the runners - except Mkhonza - were willing to have their names published, for fear that this would ruin their chances of joining the academy.
However, metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar denied the allegations, saying ambulances, one roving and one placed at the academy, were available throughout the morning in case of any collapses.
He said that when candidates applied to run, they also had to provide a doctor’s certificate stating they were healthy enough to run the race.
He added that the academy had not received any reports of an assault, and that if the man accusing officers of such behaviour was serious about his claims, he would submit a written report.
Minnaar said also it was impossible that candidates were cheated out of their places if they finished the race in the correct amount of time, and said any participants with any issues needed to hand in a written complaint in person to the academy.