Task team to tackle Durban’s whoonga problem

2014-06-27 00:00

PREMIER Senzo Mchunu yesterday announced the formation of a task team to look into the problem of whoonga and other drugs in Durban.

Community activists in Glenwood yesterday said they were taken by surprise at the announcement and the lack of consultation with them.

Delivering his State of the Province Address, Mchunu named Safety and Security MEC Willies Mchunu as the leader of the team to look into the problem of drugs in the Victoria embankment, Berea and surrounding areas.

“I have noted with grave concern reports of whoonga addicts who are terrorising the community,” he said.

Mchunu’s announcement comes in the wake of recent attacks on vagrants and whoonga addicts amid suspicions that they were responsible for opportunistic crimes.

The Witness had reported earlier this month that scores of vagrants occupying city parks in Glenwood were seriously injured when gangs of armed men, believed to be from Dalton hostel, targeted the homeless, suspecting them as being the root cause of crime in the area.

The men reportedly moved from the Dalton hostel to Albert Park, upwards to Botha Park and into Glenwood as the homeless fled.

Umbilo/Berea community policing forum chairperson Ben Madokwe said they were not aware of the formation of the task team.

“He [Mchunu] might be meaning well with this initiative but who is involved? What are the terms of reference?

“People who are affected by the problem, who know what is happening, should be involved in finding a solution,” said Madokwe. He said he would raise the issue at the CPFs cluster meeting tonight.

Bulwer Community Safety Forum chairperson Heather Rorick was also surprised to hear about the task team. “It doesn’t make sense that people from the affected areas are not consulted about such a huge endeavour. We know the problem and we have been working hard to get it solved. Why not involve us in finding a solution if there is a better plan,” she said.

In another development, Mchunu said youth development would form part of the priorities of his government and that a number of initiatives on youth development would be undertaken in the next five years.

Mchunu announced that a chief directorate on youth development in the Office of the Premier would be formed.

“The directorate will co-ordinate all youth development initiatives in the province to ensure synergies. It will focus on research on youth development and promote the interests of young people in general. All of these should be done by September 2014,” he said.

He also said a Youth Development Council would also be established.

Mchunu added that his government would ensure that pupils received career guidance at schools.

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