Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jun 2004
Source: Cape Times (South Africa)
Copyright: 2004 Cape Times


Residents of New Woodlands in Mitchell's Plain took to the streets on Sunday
to protest against druglords and tik, the latest drug craze.

About 400 marchers, including mothers with toddlers, supported by People
Against Gangsterism And Drugs (Pagad), vented their anger by shouting
anti-drug and anti-gangster slogans and urging curious spectators to join
the protest.

Also on Sunday, Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore announced a
week-long drug awareness campaign at schools throughout the province,
kicking off on Monday. He said the campaign would help the education
department in assessing where drug abuse was prevalent.

Organiser of the anti-drug march Darwiesh Miller said their goal was to
raise public awareness and to tell druglords to stop trading and leave the

Tik (methamphetamine) comes in various forms and can be injected, smoked or

"Tik is a poison that is destroying the community. We want the merchants to
stop selling tik and other drugs. This is a serious problem because many of
our youth are getting involved and in this area there is a druglord in
almost every second street. Children as young as 10 are getting hooked.
Something must be done to stop this," Miller said.

As they walked under the watchful eye of a strong police contingent,
marchers were joined by residents who lined the route.

One resident, who refused to be named, said: "I have a child who used tik.
It was very hard for my family."

"The trauma this drug brings unto a household is unbearable."

We had to deal with the disappointment that he was stealing items in the
house so he could buy tik. Because of our love for him as a child, we had to
accept him back and help him."

Pagad assistant regional secretary Faizah Parker said they were invited by
the New Woodlands community to support the protest.

"There are places where people are more aware and know what to look out for.
This is what we want communities to do. Public awareness needs to be
heightened even more and we're convinced protests like this will result in
some good."

Sunday's protest followed a police raid on Friday morning on a Bishop Lavis
house where tik, crack cocaine and Mandrax jointly estimated at R20 000,
were seized. Two stolen firearms and more than R20 000 cash, believed to be
from drug dealing, were also confiscated. Three men were arrested.

West Metropole police spokesperson William Reid said: "It was part of
continued police investigations." The three will appear in court today.

Dugmore said his department's drug awareness campaign includes issuing
schools with information brochures as well as a guideline of lesson plans
for educators.

"The guideline forms part of the OBE Life Orientation curriculum that gets
learners talking about drug abuse through class presentations, developing an
awareness of the various types of drugs on the market and what the effects
are," Dugmore said.

A letter had been sent to the province's 1 400 schools urging principals to
get school communities involved.

"Drug awareness needs to happen in all our schools. It is not only an issue
at (previously disadvantaged schools) but also at former Model C schools,
where cases of drug abuse have been reported."

"We need to get the entire school community involved in creating an
environment where there is support for learners who are addicted," he said.

"We will do everything in our power to assist learners, but where learners
reject assistance, disciplinary measures will be enforced."

He said the department was also particularly concerned about the popularity
of highly addictive tik at schools because of its affordability.

In his recent visits to schools Dugmore said communities had shared their
experiences of learner drug abuse as well as the effects it had on their

"We need to transform our society so that we can build a nation of which all
humanity can be proud," he said.

Provincial manager for the department's Safe Schools division, Nariman Khan,
emphasised the importance of the Safe Schools call centre, a hotline for
learner support.

The call centre's number is 0800 45 46 47. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh