Dan­ger­ous drugs take their toll in Khayelit­sha

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - VUYO MA­BANDLA

A FEW years back drug abuse by young­sters in Khayelit­sha was not a ma­jor headache but that has dra­mat­i­cally changed, with some com­mu­nity work­ers say­ing the sprawl­ing town­ship is fac­ing a drug cri­sis.

The drugs used in­clude dagga, tik (crys­tal metham­phetamine) and co­caine as well as home­made drugs con­cocted from a com­bi­na­tion of med­i­ca­tions such as ARVs and headache pills.

“Sub­stance abuse is fast tak­ing its toll among the youth,” said Mab­huti, a neigh­bour­hood watch co-or­di­na­tor in Khayelit­sha’s Mak­haza area, who did not want his full name printed.

Other polic­ing fo­rums in Khayelit­sha said they had been keep­ing a close eye on the sit­u­a­tion in ar­eas like Site B and C, Harare, Makhaya and Mak­haza.

Mab­huti said: “We’ve been work­ing with the po­lice over the years and we have reg­u­larly con­fis­cated many kilo­grammes of drugs from drug deal­ers and other peo­ple.

“These drugs are mostly con­sumed by delin­quent youths, which is why you see a sharp in­crease in crime and drug use ev­ery­where.”

An ex-drug user known as Kabs said drugs were def­i­nitely more preva­lent in Khayelit­sha than a few years ago.

Tik and man­drax favoured.

“Kids these days also like to ex­per­i­ment by mix­ing a myr­iad of drugs and smok­ing them all at once. It’s a dan­ger­ous af­fair.”

Nolitha Ty­atyaza of Site B said it was af­ter the re­turn of gang­ster­ism to the area about three years ago that drug dens be­gan to spring up.

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But po­lice de­nied that or­gan­ised gangs were in the area, say­ing this had been pre­vented by po­lice mon­i­tor­ing.

When Week­end Ar­gus vis­ited Khayelit­sha, lo­cals were re­luc­tant to point out the sus­pected drug dens.

“Some of these peo­ple have spies who are on the look­out for peo­ple who speak to the au­thor­i­ties or the me­dia. We don’t want any trou­ble com­ing our way,” said Ty­atyaza.

Sus­pected drug deal­ers were of­ten let off lightly by po­lice, she claimed.

But Khayelit­sha po­lice spokes­woman An­neke van der Vyver dis­puted this.

“There are no in­stances where po­lice can let drug of­fend­ers off lightly as this is not our field to deal with. All of­fend­ers are ar­rested and the drugs con­fis­cated,” she said.

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