We're fully trained, leaders are using us to fight their political battles - Joburg metro cops
Some angry rookies hit back at management on Tuesday and accused it of treating them unfairly and insisted that they do not need further training.
Speaking to The Star, a Joburg metro police department academy graduate, who was among the 1500 deemed to be poorly trained, said there was no training taking place at the academy.
“We just wake up to go and sit at the training academy. The officials at the academy are not even attending to us.”
The rookie cop, who refused to be named, said instead of undergoing driving lessons and other training at the academy, they spent the day socialising and sitting under a tree.
“The people who train drivers were still busy with older police officers and we were told that we will start driving fully once we are placed in different regions.”
The rookie cop further alleged that the JMPD training academy was not in a condition to conduct classes in some of its ageing facilities.
“We had to fight them to build another toilet, the hall, chairs and table are just not in good condition as well. The hall leaks when it rains. Chairs and desks are in a poor state,” he said.
Another rookie said the firearm instructors were very strict which might have scared off several trainees.
“We were divided into groups and we went to the shooting range. The instructors were very strict; remember, you’re being taught how to use a gun by someone who is not friendly to you, which is difficult.”
She said that they weren’t given guns after graduation.
She maintained that they were trained to conduct traffic and were confident of discharging their duties.
“We would go in groups of 10 to busy intersections then apply what we were taught at the academy and from the people I was paired with no one had a phobia of traffic.”
The optimistic young graduate said they would return to duty and accused political leaders of using them to fight their battles.
“We did all this training. I just feel like this is a war between top officials in the office and we’re getting affected.I really hope that this is resolved soon,” she said.
JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said this week that the new graduates had to be returned to the academy to polish up on gun handling, driving and traffic management.
After an 18-month training programme which began in 2017, they graduated last year.
The JMPD rookies were then sent to different regions across Joburg where they carried out their duties but all this came to an end when public safety MMC Mally Mokoena came into office.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mokoena said she made a decision to recall them after engaging with both trainees, the Academy leadership and JMPD to ensure they were well trained and able to fully execute their responsibilities.
“MMC for public safety Mally Mokoena has now received a report from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), which is the competent body to accredit and evaluate the training of traffic officials within the Republic of South Africa, that the trainees did not complete training,” said the MMC.
Mokoena said the previous administration deployed officers knowing that they were neither qualified nor ready to perform law-enforcement duties, including points-duty at major intersections.
“The MMC took a decision to recall them back to academy after engaging with both the trainees, leadership of the academy and the Joburg metropolitan police department to ensure they are well trained and can fully execute their responsibilities once graduated,” she said.
Mokoena said the JMPD was one of the critical areas of delivery within the city, and creating a safer city was one of the priorities of the government of local unity.
The MMC’s statement revealed that an investigation would be launched into the deployment of the officers.
“The deployment of unqualified officers placed the lives of the citizens of Joburg at risk and is a matter so serious that we cannot be complicit and be a party to it as the new administration,” Mokoena added.