DA calls for drugs unit to be set up after KwaMashu pupils' deaths

2016-03-27 17:56
 (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The DA has called for a Narcotics Enforcement Bureau to be set up to crack down on illicit drug trafficking in priority clusters following the deaths of four KwaMashu youths to drug-related incidents this week.

DA Shadow Minister of Police Zakhele Mbhele in a statement on Sunday urged Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to speed up the roll-out of the unit following the deaths and hospitalisation of more than 30 pupils after they ingested a drug at a party last weekend.

"This should not be a difficult task. The South African Police Service should start by reconvening what is left of the personnel who constituted the specialised anti-drug units that were disastrously disbanded by former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi in 2006," he said.

"The next step must be to identify priority clusters where the initial reconstituted units would begin their focused investigations and intelligence-led policing operations."

Mbhele cited the 2014/15 crime statistics which he said provided an evidence-based guideline "which would indicate that KwaMashu should be a priority surveillance area" as it is situated between the Durban Central and Phoenix police precincts which registered the highest number of drug-related crimes in the province.

"The setting up of a task team to address the emerging crisis, as has been reported, is not adequate to ensure a long-term, sustainable solution. 

"The 'task team' approach has been the default modus operandi of the SAPS to deal with syndicate crime since specialised units were disbanded, from vehicle hijacking to gang violence, but its impact has always been short-lived and failed to stop year-on-year increases in drug-related crime and aggravated robberies."

On Wednesday a team of social workers were sent to assist the families of those affected by the incident, Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi said earlier.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  narcotics

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