Over 12 000 people have applied to be chosen for the City of Cape Town's metro and traffic departments, the city's mayoral committee member for safety JP Smith said on Wednesday.
The physical assessments started on Monday and it is hoped that around 1 050 candidates will be put through their paces per day over 12 days.
They will have to run for 2.4km, do a set number of push ups and sit ups, and shuttle runs, all timed.
Smith said the tests are not extremely strenuous but are a means of ascertaining who does not qualify for the next round which are written assessments.
The screening and selection is costly, so doing the physical first is a way of cutting back on these costs.
"They will need to defend themselves in serious altercations. Most people with average levels of fitness will be able to do it [the physical], but it cuts out half or two thirds of the applicants."
The posts are expected to complement the other security agencies such as the SA Police Service, which the Western Cape Safety MEC Albert Fritz has said is short staffed.
According to the advertisement for applications, which closed on July 19, those chosen to do the physical must have a Grade 12, a driver's licence, no criminal record and be physically fit.
They should be between 18 and 35 years old and will be expected to attend the Metro Police Training Academy in Observatory for 18 months.
Those chosen for the training college will receive an allowance of R4 097.52 per month, according to the advertisement.
The high number of applications for the paid training comes in the light of StatsSA revealing that South Africa's unemployment rate had reached a record high of 29%.
According to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter of this year, joblessness increased 1.4 percentage points from the 27.6% reported in the first quarter.
Youth unemployment was pegged at 56.4%.
In 2012, eight people died during fitness tests in KwaZulu-Natal when more than 34 000 applicants applied for 90 posts.
They are understood to have died from dehydration, renal or multiple organ failure, while 22-year-old art student Sanele Ngcobo died after sustaining a 13cm laceration to the trachea, according to News24's sister publication The Witness.
Smith said medical services will be on standby for candidates.
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