President Jacob Zuma has committed government to immediately review and enhance its programmes and strategies that are aimed at fighting crime and drug abuse in order to ensure safer and peaceful communities.
The President undertook a visit to Soshanguve Township in Pretoria, today, 28 February 2017, to interact with residents, recovering drug addicts and the leadership of the South African Police Service in the area where he received a briefing on challenges and support needed in the fight against crime in the area. President Zuma visited the township as part of the campaign against crime, especially drug peddling and abuse, as well as building safer communities in the 2017 radical socio-economic transformation programme.
“Following the visit to Soshanguve and the kind of information that we received from our interaction with residents, police leadership and some of the drug addicts, we will be meeting again with the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster to discuss plans that will help us review programmes and strategies to enhance the fight against crime and drug abuse which is increasingly ravaging our communities,” said President Zuma.
“We need to advance our criminal justice system and come up with new strategies to fight crime and its root causes, particularly drugs, simply because our people cannot live side by side with crime and we cannot be defeated by criminals in this battle. A fight against crime and drug trafficking is a societal responsibility and I will therefore be engaging with various sectors including business, civic organizations and communities to join government in this campaign to ensure safer and peaceful communities,” President Zuma said.
During his visit the President interacted with a group of young drug addicts, some of them on a path of recovery who are between the ages of 24 and 32 years, who pleaded with President Zuma and government to assist them as they were prepared to quit drugs and be integrated with their families and communities.
“Today we visited Soshanguve Block L, where I had a long interaction with young people who are addicted to drugs, particularly the drug called Nyaope, they have explained their situations to me and indeed it was depressing to see our youth in that disheartening state. All of them have requested government’s intervention to rescue them from drugs and their current situation’” he said.
“I have committed relevant departments to urgently attend to the plea of these young people most of whom have no parents or have been dismissed and disowned by their families for various drug related reasons. One of them is a University of Pretoria graduate who is in possession of a Degree in Public Administration and has been taking drugs for four years after struggling to get employment. This shows that there are various serious reasons that will lead them to drugs and ours is not to forsake them but to assist those who want to be assisted and then deal decisively with drug traffickers and drug-lords ,” said President Zuma.
Amongst the youth that interacted with the President were two young women, who said they were parents and told the President that they had left their homes because of abuse and other family problems and who also pleaded with the President to assist them as they want to create a better future for their parents and also assist other addicts.
President Zuma said that he wanted to see visible action on arresting the spread of the abuse of nyaope among young people in Soshanguve, which was destroying the lives of many young people and causing untold trauma to parents, in addition to perpetuating crime and mayhem.
During the interaction with members of community, who raised serious concerns with regard to high levels of crime and drug trafficking, President Zuma assured the community that government will do everything in its power to fight crime and make the community safer.
The President also interacted with police at the Rietgat Police Station and thanked them for their continued efforts to fight crime in the area. The police raised concerns with regard criminals who get arrested for serious crimes but released by courts after short stints in jail.
President Zuma said the review of programmes and plans by government will also look at the entire criminal justice system, particularly prosecutorial system, to ensure that criminals face full might of the law. The President further assured the leadership of the Police that government would provide more resources to police stations in crime affected areas to ensure that police have necessary resources and support that will enhance their fight against crime and drug trafficking.
During his State of the Nation Address earlier this month, President Zuma mentioned Block L in Soshanguve as requiring special attention, given the number of crime incidents which are making life unbearable for residents including students at the nearby Tshwane University of Technology. Government has declared the fight against crime an apex priority alongside dealing with poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The President has also recently visited Nyanga Township in Cape Town where residents live in daily fear of being attacked by marauding criminals. He has since met with the Security Cluster which is prioritising interventions in Nyanga.
President Zuma was accompanied by State Security Minister David Mahlobo; Communications Minister Faith Muthambi; Social Development Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu; Deputy Police Minister Sotyu and Deputy State Security Minister Ellen Molekane.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Presidency.
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