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Pretoria - A man was arrested in Pretoria on Monday for allegedly “selling” metro police jobs to some of the more than 150 000 applicants hoping to become future metro police trainees.
Thousands of desperate job-seekers have queued outside the metro police station in Madiba Street over the past two weeks, hopeful to secure positions in the force.
A well-dressed man, claiming to be well connected to the metro police, allegedly told would-be recruits he accepted application forms for vacancies as metro police trainees. He assured job-seekers of a job for a fee of R3 000 each.
Metro police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba, said the man assured applicants of a job in the metro police through his connections in the force.
The suspect is a 39-year-old man from Pretoria. He approached queuing hopefuls and offered them application forms. These forms were freely available and the suspect could get hold of them easily.
“People could collect forms at the regional metro police stations and even download them from our website,” Mahamba said.
The municipality advertised 1 000 trainee positions, an 18-month contract with a monthly stipend of R3 000, and no guarantee of permanent employment.
Mahamba said after metro police received numerous complaints about conmen promising people jobs if they paid R3 000, one metro policeman posed as a member of the public.
He received an application form from the suspect and was told to give the man his contact details. The suspect assured the policeman he could get him a job for a fee of R3 000.
The man later contacted the policeman to make arrangements for payment. He said he would meet him on Saturday last week, but never showed up.
“Yesterday he said he was available to meet and exchange the money,” Mahamba said.
The policeman, still posing as a potential “buyer”, met the suspect at a fast food restaurant in Madiba Street and was charged R6 000 to have two applications submitted.
When the payment was made, the metro police, with the help of the SAPS arrested the man.
Mahamba said the suspect mainly targeted people from outside the Pretoria area. It is not yet known how many people he may have defrauded this way, and whether he has committed such offences before.
He was charged with fraud and will appear in court soon.
It is suspected there are more conmen offering similar services and investigations are in progress.
“The man claimed to have worked alone and has not confessed to others being involved. We also do not know where he works from yet. We are continuing the search,” Mahamba said.
Members of the public have been warned not to pay any money as part of an application process to the metro police. “It is not possible to buy jobs in the metro police. We provide an equal opportunity for everybody,” Mahamba said.
Applications for vacancies closed on Friday and Mahamba said they had received more than 150 000 applications.
The applications are being processed, after which successful applicants will undergo fitness tests.
A team and safety measures have been put in place to avoid a situation similar to what happened in Pietermaritzburg in December. Seven potential recruits died during a fitness test, similar to the one the potential trainees will undergo.
“If we have to, we will have more fitness sessions with fewer potential trainees to avoid incidents,” Mahamba said.
There will be food items on sale during the tests, water will be provided regularly and the number of participants will be kept “reasonable” and manageable, he said.
Applicants participating in the fitness test are advised to see a medical practitioner before the test to ensure they are healthy.
Mahamba said even if the period allocated for the fitness tests will be prolonged, the deadline of 10 months for selecting the final 1 000 trainees will be met.
Anyone who wants to report incidents of fraud can call 012 358 7095.