Serious drug problem in KZN

2014-02-17 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S drug trade is out of control and far more serious than initially thought.

This was revealed in an answer to a parliamentary question posed by the Democratic Alliance to provincial Community Safety MEC, Willies Mchunu.

As a result, the DA says it will push for the urgent reinstatement of KZN’s specialist anti-drug units.

It was also revealed that drugs smuggled into the province between April 2012 and April 2013 were valued at R19 million.

Mchunu’s reply also reveals that the department is not able to accurately judge the true extent of the drug problem in KZN and he admitted it was “possibly more serious than currently thought, judging from the availability of drugs and the extent of areas involved”.

Cocaine and heroin are the most popular drugs in KZN and Mchunu provided details on the location of drug confiscations, the amount of drugs impounded and the number of arrests made.

Smuggling of dagga, cocaine and mandrax into the province is rife with “hot spots” listed as Kokstad/Matatiele, the Upper Tugela area and Himeville.

Dagga is brought into the province from Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho and the Eastern Cape, via taxis, buses, trucks, mules and on horseback. It is then shipped to the UK, the Netherlands and Canada or transported to Durban.

In the north of the province, Mandrax is being brought in from Mozambique through the Golela border post where it is then distributed to either Gauteng or Durban.

Cocaine is usually collected in Gauteng, where it is then given to drug mules, mostly young black females, who act as couriers and bring it to Durban often using bus transport.

Despite a total of 95 arrests, only 41 cases resulted in imprisonment, with the majority of culprits getting away with an admission of guilt fine.

DA MPL Sizwe Mchunu said this was not the “zero tolerance” message that officials should be sending out.

“We expect the MEC to reverse his inexplicable decision last year to close down the province’s specialist anti-drug units despite their outstanding track record. We also expect him to prioritise improvements to the department’s border tracking systems and ensure that culprits do not get away with a slap on the wrist,” said Sizwe Mchunu, adding that the time had come for the Department of Community Safety to make the fight against drugs their number one priority.


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