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Social media recruitment scams not confined to the SANDF

SAPS recruitment scamSouth Africa’s high unemployment rate provides fertile ground for scams with the SA Police Service (SAPS) the latest target.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is regularly touted as an employer by scammers seeking cash in return for “guaranteed” positions in the military.

The national police service in Mpumalanga can now be added to the list with Brigadier General Leonard Hlathi this week warning about a bogus SAPS entry level trainee intake circulating on various social media platforms.

“The public should know the last trainee intake for 2019 was advertised in May last year with a closing date for applications of 15 June 2018,” he said, adding the selection process from that intake was “almost complete”.

Provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma condemned the bogus recruitment urging people to be “extremely cautious of information posted on social media”.

“In most cases the adverts require people to make cash deposits with applicants directed to use financial institutions’ cardless services for deposits giving the scammer potential access to PIN and other personal information,” he said.

Zuma said SAPS does not request any money for employment opportunities and stressed the organisation used its own website and reputable newspapers to advertise vacancies. He urged people to contact their closest police station if in any doubt about SAPS employment opportunities on social media.

This is the same route the national defence force advises people to follow if they are suspicious about SANDF positions advertised on social media.

Last October the SANDF warned people against applying for Military Skills Development (MSD) recruitment via social media. The SANDF said at the time the postings were “fraudulent and aimed at swindling unsuspecting and vulnerable youth of their money”.

Earlier last year the national defence force issued similar warnings on four occasions, one of them pertaining to a scheme where more than 200 young men and women were allegedly recruited for a non-existent military unit. The force was apparently called Amabutho Royal Defence and run by a former SANDF member. He was arrested for murder while in uniform and served six of a 15 year sentence before being released.

At the time defence analyst Darren Olivier pointed out that military and security recruitment scams were becoming more prevalent “reflecting the desperation of many jobless young South Africans”.

“The SANDF obviously cannot do much about the economic malaise, but I feel they're not doing all they can to stop scams preying on the vulnerable. As economic conditions continue to deteriorate we can expect these scams to increase and become more involved.

“I'd suggest the problem is now big enough it would be worth setting up a specialised cross-department task team with members from the SAPS, SANDF Defence Intelligence and Military Police as well as the Department of Social Development to combat it,” he said in July.