SAPS’s turnout concern

2015-01-08 00:00

THE area around the Pietermaritzburg City Hall will be abuzz today as hopefuls queue up for a chance at a job in the police service with minority groups especially being encouraged to apply.

While the police management expect about 1 000 applicants at their recruitment imbizo at the city hall today, there are fears that over 6 000 people may pitch up.

The city hall can accommodate 1 000 people.

The South African Police Service has called for new candidates to join the force as entry-level constables.

As part of a national drive, Pietermaritzburg will host the province’s only imbizo for now.

Only 613 posts are up for grabs at various stations and units across the province.

The Safe City Facebook page said there is information that there could be up to “6 000 or more” applicants at the city hall and advised people to avoid the city centre today.

Locals are worried about the influx of people in the area and the commotion it would cause with traffic in the city centre, especially if the hall is overcrowded.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said because they can only accommodate 1 000 people in the city hall, other applicants would be diverted to their nearest police stations to fill out the necessary forms.

Zwane said police would be present to monitor the situation, with assistance from traffic officers to control the traffic surrounding the building during the event.

The service is specifically targeting white men and women, coloured men and women, and Indian women.

The DA’s spokesperson on police matters, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said she found it infuriating that the SAPS is now appealing to minority groups to join the service.

“It is extraordinary that they [SAPS] have deliberately run a campaign to drive minority groups out of the force by refusing to promote them, but now want more to join,” Kohler Barnard said.

Zwane said the appeal for these groups is intended to ensure that the service is able to meet its obligations in terms of employment equity guidelines.

Kohler Barnard said the SAPS would rather leave a position vacant than promote a person from a minority group, which persuades such officers to leave for the private security sector.

“The private security industry is almost as big as the SAPS, because seasoned officers leave the police for better opportunities in the private sector,” she added.

The imbizo would be held solely to explain the recruitment policy to interested candidates, while a delegation from the national and provincial police management assist with filling out application forms.

“It’s first come, first served. We appeal to the public to behave themselves and not to use force to enter the hall if it is full,” Zwane said.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

As some of the special requirements for the post, the KZN SAPS have asked that candidates have no tattoos and fall under a Body Mass Index of 30.

This means that candidates may be overweight but not obese.

The national SAPS website states that applicants should not have “any tattoo marks which are visible when wearing a vest, shirt or shorts and not be irreconcilable with the objectives of the Service”.

The national website also distinguishes that men should have a waist circumference of less than 102 cm and less than 88 cm for women.

Local tattoo enthusiasts have also condemned the refusal of applicants who have tattoos.

Stinger Tattoo manager Sew Sivnath said that this has been “a long time affair”.

According to Sivnath, police trainees simply wait until after they are accepted into the force to get their tattoos.

“What we advise people who want to do visible tattoos on their neck for example is to put them where they can be covered because depending on the type of job you’re in, you may not get in. However, I don’t see why policemen can’t have tattoos,” Sivnath said.

People management consultant Ian Webster conveyed similar sentiments, saying: “The key to any personal restrictions like this must be related to the type of job but I can’t imagine why policemen shouldn’t have any [tattoos].”

Basic enlistment requirements for vacancies for police trainees

The SAPS website says they want “young, energetic, intelligent, physically and mentally fit individuals” dedicated to serving their country by pursuing a career in policing.

Applicants should:

• Be at least 18 and under 30 years old

• Have a Grade 12 school certificate or National Certificate

• Preference for applicants in possession of at least a light vehicle driver’s licence;

• Must be found to be physically and mentally fit

• Be proficient in at least two of the official languages, of which one must be English

• Have no previous criminal convictions and/or pending criminal, civil, disciplinary cases and such person shall allow his or her fingerprints to be taken and allow background inquiries to be made;

• Remuneration (on completion of the training period) will be on the first notch of Band A (currently

R132 840 per annum).

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