The IFP in the KZN Legislature calls upon government to declare war on drugs, as drug abuse is becoming an overwhelming problem in society.
The gruesome killing of 10 ten people – who are alleged to be drug addicts – in KwaMpande in Pietermaritzburg should be a wake-up call for relevant authorities. We want government to ensure that all drug dens are eliminated. We need more resources and a concerted effort to fight this scourge.
When it comes to the issue of drugs, South Africa is at war.
The IFP is of the view that substance use prevention programmes should be long-term and include booster sessions to prevent programme impacts from fading over time. When substance use is rampant within a community, school-based drug prevention programmes can be implemented, in conjunction with community-based strategies, to reduce risk factors such as the availability of drugs and alcohol.
Despite all efforts by authorities and police to cope with the use of drugs, South Africa has become a paradise for drugs smugglers and drug trafficking.
We should fight drugs at community level and in our schools.
Now we must ask: Where do we go from here? Clearly drastic steps need to be taken. We believe that the first step is an admission by government that our current system doesn’t work. The next step must be to find out what the opinion is on the streets and in the schools: do the education and awareness efforts work? What makes someone decide to try drugs? What is the biggest influence on children? The bottom line is that drug use needs to be reduced, as this will also bring down the crime rate. For this to happen it will require a multi-pronged effort, with various government departments working together.
Further, we believe that the increase in the number of addicts seems to coincide with the downturn in the economy, which has led to widespread unemployment. For example, unemployed people feel pressure to support their families, cover their living expenses, and pay for health care, with no permanent solution in sight.
Drug and substance abuse are a major problem, which cannot be wished away. It has serious social, political, economic, medical, and legal ramifications. Ignoring it is like sitting on a time bomb, as it mostly affects our youth who are referred to as future leaders. Owing to this, there is need to sensitise communities and our youth by educating them on the negative effects of drug and substance abuse, in order to raise their awareness. Law enforcement officers cannot succeed in the fight against drug and substance abuse alone.
Hon. Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Social Development
083 974 4894