Members and leaders of various churches took a united stand as they marched through the streets of Asanda Village and Lwandle to raise awareness of the crippling consequences of drugs abuse on Saturday (14 April).The protestors, who engaged in peaceful action, urged local police to arrest those who make a living by selling drugs and alcohol, especially to under-age children in communities of the precinct.The congregants, clad in their different attires, gathered outside Silukhanyo Primary School. The gathering was started with a prayer before they embarked on a walk through the streets. Trumpeting and songs could be heard from a distance.The participants, who were in high spirits and showed dedication to the cause, also briefly stopped to pray at various points en route to Lwandle Sports Complex.Nokhaya Xaki, who read out a petition, lamented on the pain of pastors of churches in wards 83, 85 and 86.“Those who sell drugs in our communities must be arrested and receive heavy punishments,” she said. “We don’t want them anywhere other than in jail. We also call on police to look at the issue of municipal wheelie bins, which are being used to transport liquor.”The pastors also issued a plea for shebeen owners to stop selling alcohol to school-going children, demanding that cases be dealt with speedily.Sergeant Mthokozisi Gama, Lwandle police spokesperson, accepted the petition on behalf of the station commander, Colonel Xolani Williams. Gama thanked church leaders and members for standing up for good of the community of Lwandle, and promised to pass the petition on to Williams, who will forward it to the police cluster leadership.“As police, we need such initiatives because we know that so many bad things are happening in this small community,” Gama said. “We receive complaints of domestic violence cases and the abuse of women and children daily. Drugs are sold at school gates to children and this needs to stop.” He added the fight against crime cannot be done by the police alone, and that they need the support of the community, especially church leaders and their congregations.Gama called on the community to report those selling drugs and urged parents to build relationships of trust and honesty with their children.“Parents must stop keeping quiet about children being raped and abused,” he said.“As men, we also need to protect our children and not be the ones abusing them. This march means a lot to us as police, as it speaks to the partnership we need to forge with our communities.”Bishop Sibonile Gcilitshane of Word of Life church said, as churches in the communities could no longer keep quiet as the nation bled as a result of the rape of women and children, and ill-treatment of elderly people.He urged victims to come forward and stressed the police’s stance against selling drugs.