EMPD denies stalling training of recruits, blames COVID for delay

Frustrated EMPD trainees have told Eyewitness News that their training was being deliberately stalled as a cost-saving measure.

Ekhuruleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) officers on parade. Picture: https://www.ekurhuleni.gov.za/departments/2/empd.html

JOHANNESBURG - The Ekhuruleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) said that it was hoping that trainees would be able to qualify as metro cops by March next year but it warned that there were no guarantees in the middle of the pandemic.

Frustrated EMPD trainees have told Eyewitness News that their training was being deliberately stalled as a cost-saving measure.

But the academy was blaming COVID-19 restrictions for the lengthy interruption, which has left these recruits frustrated and demoralised as they try to survive on a meager R3,400 monthly allowance.

The trainees were supposed to have qualified as metro cops back in December already.

Chief of the training academy, Ndumiso Gcwabe, said that the EMPD was not stalling.

He’s also denied claims that on many days trainees had anything to do at the academy.

"Training is prescribed by the RTMC and the SAPS. I understand where they're coming from but we cannot change this course because of this."

But these recruits who spoke to Eyewitness News on condition that we disguise their identity for fear of dismissal, said that they were stuck in limbo and were at their wits' end.

"We don't have a certificate and we don't want to leave without it being completed, so they're delaying it deliberately," one trainee said.

"I was excited to be a metro police officer when i joined. Now, the police officer in me has died. Now I'm left begging for a job," another trainee said.

A third trainee was considering quitting: "Today is the day for me to quit. I don't know what I'm going to do next."

Some of these recruits who spoke out were mothers, fathers, breadwinners and people who had racked up huge amounts of debt just to get by.

The EMPD said that if there were no further COVID-19 restrictions, these recruits may qualify as metro cops by March, almost three years after they signed up for what was supposed to be an 18-month programme.

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