Maimane calls for for­ma­tion of anti-drug cop unit

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BONGANI HANS

DA lEADER Mmusi Maimane stu­diously avoided any men­tion of the name He­len Zille dur­ing the party’s Youth Day rally in Dur­ban yes­ter­day.

In­stead, he set his sights on fight­ing drugs, calling on the gov­ern­ment to ur­gently set up a na­tional anti-drug po­lice unit to bat­tle the scourge, which he said was wreak­ing havoc in the town­ships.

He was re­spond­ing to a re­port that Phoenix Po­lice Sta­tion, north of Dur­ban, han­dles 3 000 drug-re­lated cases a month.

Maimane was in Dur­ban to lead to lead his sup­port­ers on a march against drugs as part of the DA’s Youth Day com­mem­o­ra­tion of those who were killed by po­lice on June 16, 1976, for protest­ing against Afrikaans be­ing im­posed by the apartheid gov­ern­ment as a medium of in­struc­tion in black schools.

“In Tsh­wane and Jo­han­nes­burg metro, where the DA rules, we have al­ready in­sti­tuted anti- drug units, and they are work­ing with the South African Po­lice Ser­vice,” Maimane said.

A struc­ture of the DA in Phoenix handed a list of 51 al­leged drug deal­ers to the sta­tion com­mis­sioner Bri­gadier Bafana Ndlovu. The list, in which each al­leged drug lord was read out in pub­lic, formed part of a mem­o­ran­dum handed to the com­mis­sioner.

Maimane said the DA’s call for the unit con­tin­u­ously fell on Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s deaf ears be­cause he was pre­oc­cu­pied with the Gupta fam­ily.

“It is clear that if you want Zuma to hear you, you should say to the Gup­tas please tell Ja­cob Zuma to de­liver on that anti-drug unit,” Maimane said

“I am here to say I am sad for the peo­ple of Phoenix be­cause un­der Ja­cob Zuma you have waited for years for the an­tidrug unit. When we take over in 2019 we will es­tab­lish that unit so that young peo­ple will be free from drugs,” he said.

He said only through tight­en­ing law- en­force­ment agen­cies around drug deal­ers and cre­at­ing more re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tres, would young peo­ple be able to con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to so­ci­ety.

“Let us find work for young peo­ple and let us put them to school so that they can be free from drugs,” he said.

Maimane said when his party took over the gov­ern­ment, it would part­ner with the pri­vate sec­tor to build more pub­lic and pri­vate schools.

“We want young peo­ple who are en­trepreneurs, and who are in busi­ness. This is why, un­der the DA, we will es­tab­lish a fund so that young peo­ple who want to start busi­nesses can get money from the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Bri­gadier Ndlovu said his po­lice sta­tion had a long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Phoenix com­mu­nity in the fight against crime.

“In Phoenix, we ar­rest an av­er­age of 3 000 peo­ple for drug-re­lated cases a month.

“This makes Phoenix the num­ber one sta­tion in the whole coun­try in terms of deal­ing with drugs,” he said.

He said ar­rest­ing young peo­ple was not the best so­lu­tion as they of­ten came out of prison with crim­i­nal records, thus lim­it­ing their op­por­tu­ni­ties for find­ing em­ploy­ment.

“If you look at the num­ber of peo­ple we ar­rest, we solve the prob­lem now, but we cre­ate a big­ger prob­lem for the next gen­er­a­tion.

“The com­mu­nity should stand up and come up with proac­tive measures, such as re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and drugs ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes to en­able us to col­lec­tively tackle the prob­lem,” he said.

A DA mem­ber ac­cused the eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of spend­ing po­lice re­sources on pro­tect­ing coun­cil­lors in­stead of fight­ing crime.

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