One female police recruits face after training in the sun.

New female

recruits at a police training facility in Ulundi were forced to shave their heads and train without hats in the sun, causing one to suffer sunstroke, it was learned yesterday.

Antoon Young, of Free State, the father of the trainee, said his 27-year-old daughter’s face had begun to swell from sunburn after training last Wednesday, in sweltering heat.

“She was so badly burned… she couldn’t see,” he said. “She requested medical attention and was told she was not on a medical scheme as yet and therefore they could not take her to a doctor.

“She said if she’d insisted on treatment they would have sent her back home.”

Another problem, he said, had been that some of the instructions were given in Zulu and that his daughter and several other recruits could not understand them.

However, after he raised his concerns, his daughter had been moved to the Chatsworth training facility, where she was “doing well”.

National police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo confirmed that female trainees at the Ulundi facility had been forced to shave their heads.

“There is a department investigation taking place with the view of disciplinary action,” he said. “We will be informed by the outcome of this investigation on what steps or action to take.”

He could not comment on the incident involving Young’s daughter, but could confirm that a trainee from Ulundi had been “swapped” with a trainee from Chatsworth.

Pieter Groenewald, a spokesman for the Freedom Front Plus, said: “It appears as if the new military approach in the police is being used as a smokescreen which could lead to malpractices. It is unacceptable and the minister will have to explain.”

Dianne Kohler Barnard, the DA spokeswoman on police, said recruits at the facilities were being “tortured”.

“What they are doing to them is similar to what was done to people in concentration camps. This is criminal behaviour and abusing their human rights,” she said. - The Mercury