Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jul 2003
Source: Pretoria News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2003 The Pretoria News.
Author: Elize Jacobs
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Youth)


In a community rife with unemployment and social ills, plans are under way 
to improve life for the residents of Elandspoort, an area which has been 
described as a "drug hell hole".

Residents have been up in arms over the most recent killing of a mother of 
four who was shot in her house by men who many believe to have been druglords.

Community Policing Forum chairman Don Vorster and the former Tshwane 
Metropolitan ward councillor in the area, Jackie Underwood, agree that 
drugs are the community's biggest problem.

"It's a major problem in neighbouring suburb Lotus Gardens and it is now 
also starting to affect us in a big way," Vorster said.

Underwood said she was aware of the "massive" problem, particularly, among 
the youth.

She said the ward committee had established a sub-committee that dealt 
exclusively with the drug problem in the area and they were petitioning the 
council to open a drug rehabilitation centre in the area.

The Metro Police were also investigating a possible drug cartel in Lotus 
Gardens, which might have links with people in Elandspoort, she said.

Ward councillor Gabriel Twala said police were working closely with schools 
in the area to educate youngsters to say no to drugs.

"We are aware that the problem needs to be addressed and are seeking 
support from all who can help."

But the acting principal of Ho'rskool Elandspoort, Sarel du Toit, said the 
school was not aware of any drug problems.

"I am, however, not aware in what activities they might be involved in 
after school."

Police spokesman Inspector Anton Breedt said the drug scene was not any 
worse than in other neighbourhoods in Pretoria.

"Waterkloof probably has a bigger problem."

The community has a different view though.

"The druglords are taking over and if we don't stop them our children will 
suffer the most," said resident Elsa Havenga.

She believes Elize Labuschagne (33) will not be the last person to die and 
said alcoholism and drugs were the root of most of the criminal activity in 
the area.

One resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said youngsters who stood on 
corners often burnt fires to indicate drugs were sold there.

Drugs ranged from glue and dagga to ecstasy and many children, even in 
primary school, were experimenting, said Underwood.

Labuschagne's aunt, Catherine Janse van Rensburg, said children as young as 
13 use drugs and become addicted.

"I was shocked when I found out a 15-year-old relative of mine had bought 
dagga and said it was easily accessible," she said.

Labuschagne was targeted for her stance against the "druglords" and had 
physically confronted some of them a few hours before she was shot inside 
her house, her family said.

Breedt could not confirm if the killing was drug-related. "It has been 
alleged that the killers were drug sellers but we cannot yet confirm that," 
he said.

Two men believed to be the killers of Labuschagne were arrested during a 
police raid in Laudium yesterday, reports Graeme Hosken.

The suspects, in their late 20s, were captured after police from the 
Pretoria Flying Squad received information that two men, wanted for the 
murder, were hiding out in a house in the area.

Breedt said that when police stormed the house they found both men. They 
were yesterday moved to another "safe house", sources said.

Breedt said the men were taken into custody. "Both men will be appearing in 
the Pretoria Magistrate's Court later this week," he said.

He said the investigation would reveal the motive for the killing.
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