By Bosman Grobler MPL, Spokesperson on Community Safety and Security:
The Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga commends the police after they made a number of drug busts in the past month in the province.
According to media reports, last month alone 11 people, including three foreign nationals and three police officers were arrested in Mpumalanga on different counts of dealing in drugs. These drugs included crystal myth, cocaine, dagga, and R3 million worth of Mandrax.
It’s concerning that police officers were also implicated in the drug busts that took place last month. It was reported that three on-duty police officers were arrested in Maduda trust near Tonga after they were found transporting dagga in a police marked vehicle.
In a written reply to questions raised by the DA, MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusi Shongwe stated that 13 288 people were caught with drugs in Mpumalanga between the year 2012 and 2014. But the MEC’s office failed to respond on how many people were successfully convicted in those years.
It is widely known that drug abuse has destroyed the fabric of society, with drug deals taking place across the province. Drug abuse also increases criminal activities, violence, school dropouts, and demands on specialised health care to deal with after effects.
At its Federal Congress in March this year, the DA adopted and signed a Values Charter. At the heart of the Values Charter lie these three words: Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity. The DA is talking about among others freedom from gangs and drugs; the right to live and move about in our own neighbourhood without fear; and freedom from the violent lifestyles of those thugs that threatens communities.
Even National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, acknowledged the involvement of police officers in criminal and drug activities when she welcomed Mpumalanga Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mark Magadlela to his position in February this year. Phiyega said: “General Magadlela, I’m certain that you will soon realize that there is sometimes criminality orchestrated by our own officers. On the N4, drugs and illegal firearms are transported to Gauteng because criminals loaded with cash bribe our members.”
These drug busts must serve as wake-up call to MEC Shongwe that he needs to speed up the process of looking at investing in a specialized unit for narcotics. The MEC mentioned the need for such a unit during the oral response to questions in the Legislature on 18 August 2015. MEC Shongwe must engage Police Minister Nathi Nhleko in order to escalate this process in the province to help curb drug related activities.
The youth who are addicted to these drugs are terrorizing their families and the community at large. They too must be educated on the dangers of substance abuse.
We must protect our children especially the youth from criminal activities and the abuse of substances and make sure that Mpumalanga does not become a safe drug haven for drug dealers.