Eldorado drug problem shocks Zuma

2013-05-14 17:17
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The drug problem in Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg, had reached "abnormality", President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

"I read the letter and I was shocked. The degree of the problem and the description is unheard of... this is a crisis, an abnormality," Zuma told residents on a visit to the area.

Concerned parents wrote to Zuma in April, asking him to help. Several Cabinet members accompanied him.

Zuma told residents he would personally take charge of the fight against drugs in the area.

"I am making it a point that I drive this programme myself... .Government must move quicker to deal with this."

Law enforcement legislation could possibly be adjusted so criminals could not hide behind technicalities in the law, he said.

"We cannot allow these drug lords to rule our communities and hide behind technicalities in the law."

Earlier, Doreleene James, a parent to a 17-year-old boy undergoing rehabilitation, said they had had enough of drug peddlers in the area. Her son had stolen from the family and sold his own clothes to buy drugs.

He became "wild and hysterical" when refused money. James said he returned from rehabilitation and got addicted to drugs again.

Zuma said government's first priority was to save the children. James's son would be the first to receive help.

"Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has decided to first take the boy away from this area so he can receive treatment away from here," Zuma said.

Painful

In the letter to Zuma, parent Cordelia Bailey appealed to him to close down "lolli lounges", which she said had flooded the area.

"The merchants lure young girls to these houses and pay them R100 to keep the men entertained," she wrote.

The girls were then introduced to drugs and turned into prostitutes. They eventually got their drugs free of charge as they kept clients "happy", Bailey wrote.

Zuma said the drug dens would be closed immediately. He said he was shocked by reports that the local police protected the drug lords.

"I must tell you that as government this is a very painful statement to hear.

If you are saying officials deployed to help here instead protect drug lords, that is a very serious statement."

He said ministers and heads of law enforcement agencies would meet in a few days to draw up a plan of action.

"We have heard you, and wish to thank you for your bravery, especially the mothers who took the initiative to stand up," Zuma said.

"Action is coming... We have given ourselves time frames and are going to work together and not look away when communities are killed."

Read more on:    nomvula mokonyane  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  service delivery

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