Maimane calls for formation of anti-drug cop unit
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.