Mpophomeni march against crime and drug abuse

2011-02-28 00:00

UNITED by their concerns about gangsterism, crime and drug abuse at Mpophomeni, outside Howick, the community on Friday marched across the township.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the Mphomeni police, the ANC branch and the community took part in the march, shouting slogans that warned people against involvement in criminal activities and drug abuse.

Community members said over the years rival gangs called the 26 and 28, named after hardcore prison gangs, were recruiting youngsters in the area to join them and were largely responsible for some of the most heinous acts of violence in the area.

“They use these names as a way of recruiting; the problem is that now these gangs are now recruiting even in primary schools,” said Mbhana Ndlovu, a secretary of the ANC in ward 8.

The Witness recently reported on Mxolisi Vilakazi (14), a grade seven pupil at Sfisesihle Junior Primary School in Mpophomeni who was allegedly assaulted by the gang for the 50 cents he had on him at the time.

The community said several heinous incidents of violence in the area can be traced back to the problem of gangsters in the area.

In 2009, a 12-year-old girl Lerato Mbele was stabbed 37 times by gang members after they snatched her right in front of her uncle. In the same year a man was found decapitated and last year another man was hacked to death.

The incidents were confirmed by officer Mhlongo of the Mphophomeni Police precinct. He said the killers of Lerato have since been arrested and are going to trial.

Mhlongo said the community also faced a drug abuse problem.

“At the police station we have tons of this Whoonga stuff that we confiscated,” he said.

A spokesperson for the TAC, Sbu Ndlovu, said: “We know that ARV medication is used in the manufacturing of this drug. We fought very hard for people to get access to this medication which is now being abused, and we know that some people are now fearful to collect their own medication because they believe they will be robbed.”

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