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


Residents of New Woodlands in Mitchell's Plain took to the streets
yesterday 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 yesterday, Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore announced a
week-long drug awareness campaign at schools throughout the province,
kicking off today. 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 area.

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

"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."

Yesterday'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 spokesman 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

"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

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 families.

"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.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin