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Investigation finds raft of irregularities in eThekwini metro police recruitment process

Metro police patrolling on the beach promenade in Durban. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Metro police patrolling on the beach promenade in Durban. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 8, 2021


DURBAN - A FORENSIC investigation into the recruitment of more than 500 eThekwini metro police officers has arrived at damning findings, revealing that some of those appointed were allegedly not interviewed for the job.

There were two recruitment processes between 2017 and 2019. During the first recruitment, 207 officers were appointed, and during the second recruitment process 383 officers were appointed.

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Among the irregularities the investigation found was that some of the applicants who were interviewed did not appear among the applicants who underwent a physical fitness test.

Some applicants were allegedly given preferential treatment, with some men being allowed to run the women’s time during the fitness test, and some applicants underwent a physical training test after the official test had taken place.

These allegations are contained in a forensic investigation that looked into wider allegations of wrongdoing in the unit. Apart from looking at the recruitment practices, the report appraised the appointment of senior managers, and the abuse of overtime and council cars.

The Mercury recently reported on the findings of the report related to allegations of abuse of overtime by some metro police officers.

But the report has been challenged by members of the unit, who said it was full of errors, failed to take into account all the relevant information and had been interdicted by those it implicated.

They said the report was being used to malign senior managers in the unit in a jostle for positions.

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Regarding the first recruitment process, the report said the municipality’s human resources unit failed to keep proper records of those who had applied and gone through the recruitment process.

It found that the applications did not go through proper checking, as some applicants had submitted applications with invalid ID numbers.

The report had found that some recruits who were part of the fitness test did not appear in the recommendations of the interview panels, and vice versa.

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“We conclude that the recruitment process for 2017-18 was tainted with irregularities,” the report said.

On the second recruitment process, it highlighted other irregularities. In one instance, it found applicants were interviewed, but it did not appear they were recommended for appointment, but were appointed.

In another instance, it found that an applicant was not interviewed, but was recommended. It found that of the 383 applicants appointed in the second group, eight did not feature in the group that had medical examinations.

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It said the HR unit had not conducted any follow-ups with the applicants to ensure that those appointed had participated in all the relevant processes.

It also alleged that some of the applicants at one of the recruitment centres were given preferential treatment in being appointed.

“We noted that there is no formal process documented in relation to the recruitment and the evaluation of trainees,” it said in a general conclusion.

The municipality declined to comment and referred The Mercury to a previous statement it had issued in response to questions about the forensic report.

In that response, eThekwini municipality spokesperson Mandla Nsele said: “The city is aware of the report. Please note that this is an internal matter between the employer and employee. There is an internal disciplinary process that is currently under way in this regard.

“We ask to be given space to deal with the matter. We will communicate our next course of action once these processes have been finalised.”


Related Topics:

City of Ethekwini