Police's fight against drugs in Westbury gains momentum

2018-12-27 22:14
Members of the Westbury community clash with riot police during a protest. (File, Stringer / AFP)

Members of the Westbury community clash with riot police during a protest. (File, Stringer / AFP)

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WATCH: Rubber bullets and teargas answer Westbury residents' pleas in fight against drugs, gun violence

2018-10-12 06:11

South Africans watched as images of burning tyres and clouds of teargas mingled with the sounds of rubber bullets and the angry chants of Westbury residents as they clashed with police while protesting against drugs and gun violence in their community.WATCH

The police's anti-drug unit has arrested a 25-year-old suspect in Westbury, Johannesburg, for possession of drugs worth over R100 000 following an "intensive intelligence-driven operation".

"Six hundred units of Mandrax tablets with an estimated street value of over R100 000 were seized," said police spokesperson Mavela Masondo on Thursday.

Just down the road from Westbury, police in Sophiatown arrested eight suspects for crimes ranging from murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and housebreaking. They are expected to appear in court soon. 

"We are clamping down on serious crimes in the area," Masondo said.

READ: 8 most wanted suspects arrested in Westbury

The anti-gang unit was deployed in Westbury to reinforce the various units that are responsible for finding and arresting drug dealers and gangsters in the area.

The unit was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Hanover Park on November 2, after the killing of Heather Petersen who was hit during a shootout between rival gangs in Westbury.

READ MORE: Westbury residents demand that Cele brings back amaberethe

Her murder sparked community outrage, with violent protests erupting and residents demanding the arrest of the suspects and the deployment of more police units to deal with gangsterism in the area.

Earlier in December, police shut down a protest by Westbury residents who said they were unhappy about the withdrawal of criminal charges against Livert May and Shaeez Moolgie, who were arrested for Petersen's murder and the attempted murder of a minor who was with her at the time.

Residents have threatened to embark on more protests should Police Minister Bheki Cele not reinstate a tactical response team that patrolled the neighbourhood's streets after Petersen's shooting.

"This arrest and recovery of drugs is an intensified effort by the anti-drug unit to bring to a halt the scourge of drugs that is facing the community of Westbury," Masondo added.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Sophiatown Magistrate's Court on Friday to face charges relating to drug dealing.

"Arrests of this nature also serve as a warning to those who continue to smuggle drugs in Westbury in particular and Gauteng in general," Masondo said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  narcotics  |  crime  |  protests
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