There’s no place for drug lords on our streets

By Cllr Muso Kubheka, DA Mpumalanga Youth Chairperson:

The following speech was delivered by, Cllr Muso Kubheka, during a drug march in Secunda, calling for the return of specialised police units to deal with drug related crimes in Mpumalanga.

Fellow Democrats,

On his recent visit to Mitchells Plain in Cape Town, as part of the Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity Tour, our Federal Leader Mmusi Maimane said, and I quote “there is no place for gangsters and drug lords on our streets”.

The youth of Mpumalanga faces a bleak future, if they continue to be plagued by drugs and crime. The status quo will remain until the South African Police Services (SAPS) puts stringent plans in place to deal with drug kingpins and drug related crimes.

The DA Youth of Mpumalanga is concerned that drug abuse will continue to have a negative impact on the young people, should the SAPS continue to ignore our repeated calls to establish specialised police units.

Crime statistics for the 2014/15 financial year, showed an increase in drugs and drug related crimes of 18,5% for the past year, and a staggering 167% increase in these crimes in the past 5 years in the province.

In June this year, Deputy Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla identified eMalahleni, Delmas and Balfour as areas severely affected by drugs in Mpumalanga. This means an increase in criminal activities, violence and school dropouts. We need to put a stop to this.

Scores of young people are addicted to drugs and Nyaope is one of those drugs that are killing our young people. Nyaope, which is a mix of heroin, dagga and ARVs, among other substances is probably the biggest concern as it seems to be quite widespread in poorer communities and has been linked to crime and other negative consequences.

We cannot be held ransom by these drug cartels because we are unemployed. We cannot be held ransom by these drug lords because of our economic status. We cannot be held ransom by these drug barons because by so doing we only enrich them.

I’m a youth myself, and it pains me to see my fellow brothers and sisters being trapped in the web of dealing in drugs or being users. I see how this lifestyle destroys them on a daily basis.

Democrats, we need more cases like the international drug kingpin who was sentenced to 81 years in jail by the Benoni Magistrate’s Court in December last year. This case was the first time a narcotics dealer had been convicted in South Africa of racketeering.

In order for convictions like this to be sustainable, the only solution would be to establish specialised police units to deal not only with drug kingpins, but with drug related crimes.

We also need the ANC government to do more to empower the youth of Mpumalanga.  South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is amongst the highest in the world. Therefore one of the greatest socio-economic problems currently facing South Africa is youth unemployment.

Businesses including government must be in a position to employ and train talented people who lack skills and work experience, and empower them to help grow the economy.

Only when business and government work together to leverage their comparative advantages can we begin to address the problem of youth unemployment in South Africa, and the youth of Mpumalanga could be in a better position to contribute positively to their province.

Fellow democrats, at the heart of this issue is our youth being involved in criminal activities because of, among other things, unemployment. This could be seen as one of the reasons young people are getting involved in criminal activities, including drugs.

Now more than ever we need permanent specialised police units to deal with drug cartels and drug related activities.

I thank you