20.1.2013 Thousands of hopeful job seekers queued to apply for jobs at the Metro Police. Picture: Etienne Creux

Pretoria - Thousands of the city’s unemployed youth have been queuing at the Tshwane Metro Police pound in Madiba (Vermeulen) Street in the hope of becoming metro cops. More than 100 000 desperate job-seekers have responded to the Tshwane Metro Police’s advertisement for 1 000 posts.

The desperate job-seekers have been queuing at the metro police pound to hand in their applications since January 14, when the advertisement for the jobs was published.

A similar situation has been playing itself out in many parts of the country where thousands of desperate job-seekers have queued for a few advertised jobs, prompting experts to warn of “social unrest” if the government fails to address the high unemployment crisis.

Last month, seven young people died while participating in strenuous fitness tests for jobs with the KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate. More than 15 500 applicants took part in the test, to assess them for only 90 jobs.

More than 150 000 people had applied for the 90 posts, and 34 000 of them were sent text messages on Christmas Day telling them to report to the Harry Gwala stadium. A total of 230 people collapsed with heat exhaustion and dehydration during the run. Six of them died, while a seventh man slit his throat - and later died - when he learnt he had not finished the race within the required time.

This tragedy came a few months after chaos had erupted when more than 30 000 job-seekers lined up for 30 learnership positions advertised by the eThekwini Municipality’s fire department.

Superintendent Isaac Mahamba, of the Tshwane Metro Police, said police had to print more application forms after the 100 000 printed were finished in four days.

The city’s emergency line has been clogged by calls from job-seekers eager to join the metro police.

“The emergency line is always engaged and emergency calls cannot get through,” said Mahamba, who urged the applicants not to use the emergency number (012 358 7095), but to contact one of the regional metro stations directly.

He said the numbers for the stations were given on the job application forms..

Mahamba warned the public against conmen at the queue in Madiba Street. He said people posing as metro policemen and offering help with applications, should not be trusted.

“No money should be paid at any point during the application process. These people claim to have connections and offer to help the public get a job if they pay a certain amount,” Mahamba said.

Applications opened on January 14 and close at noon on Friday, January 25. Trainees will be employed on a training contract for a period of 18 months. On completion further employment as a metro police constable will be considered. A monthly stipend of R3 000 will be paid for the duration of the contract.

Applicants must submit the application form, a copy of their ID, a copy of their drivinglicence and a copy of their matric certificate.

Applicants must be under the age of 35, have no criminal record and be South African citizens.

Mahamba said that by last Friday, just five days after the advert had been flighted, the metro police had received 100 000 applications.

“We printed 100 000 forms and by Friday, there were no more. We had to print more for this week,” said Mahamba.

On Monday the queue snaked along more than two city blocks.

Thando Beje, from Sunnyside, was one of the hundreds in the queue by 8am. He said: “I just need work. I applied because I like working with vehicles. Also, I can serve my community, which is good. I am positive and self-motivated, so I am 90 percent sure I’ll get the job.”

Carol Makubela, from Pretoria Central, said the metro police were doing a great service for individuals who didn’t have higher education qualifications. “I think it’s really great, because you only need your Grade 12 to apply,” she said.

“It’s a good job. You get R3 000 a month for an 18-month fixed contract. I mean, if you are unemployed or you have nothing going on, so why not?”

Rangwato Tshepo, from Tembisa, thought if successful it would create opportunities for him. “It could open doors for me. It’s good experience. It’s a nice start and everyone has to earn an income. I have to believe in myself because I have a dream. Everybody has a dream.”

Mahamba said it had yet to be determined how many applicants would be shortlisted. A fitness test and medical test would be conducted as part of the selection process.

Successful applicants will be contacted by January 30.

Pretoria News