Communities must stand up against drugs.
No area is immune.
We at Crime Line and Lead SA are being inundated with calls for help from across South Africa.
During a recent visit to areas in the Western Cape, the Minister in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, and I met various communities as part of the #365days of activism initiative. Drugs, drugs and drugs topped the agenda wherever we went.
Dareleen James from Eldorado Park, the famous mother who wrote to President Jacob Zuma, continues to cry out for help saying her community is continuing to face an onslaught from drug dealers.
This week, mothers from Laudium and surrounding areas outside Pretoria called us - also appealing for urgent interventions.
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Malobane accepted an invitation from Crime Line to meet affected individuals and community representatives at short notice.
Chairman of the Gauteng Community Police Board, Andy Mashaile, local councillor Farouk Essop, representatives from the SAPS and Tshwane Metro Police Dept also attended.
Resident after resident spoke about the drug scourge. It's heartbreaking to hear how mothers complain about their young children hooked on drugs. Schools are also affected. A SGB member told the meeting how the dealers were targeting students.
Everyone is crying out for help.
Another common complain is how drug dealers are openly operating in the area - and allegedly working in cahoots with some local crooked cops.
It was also alleged that some drug dealers are often seen at the police station delivering take-away foods for cops.
Resident told the MEC how quickly dealers and peddlers are released after being arrested. Some don't even appear in court.
Claims that a man who buys stolen property and who allegedly lives off ill-gotten gains again surfaced. At times victims are forced to buy their stolen property back - and again police allegedly fail to act.
The MEC promised urgent interventions. She said police had to be held accountable. She also appealed to the community to pass on detailed information anonymously.
SMS Crime Line on 32211 or call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
MEC Nkosi Malobane spoke openly and frankly. She lashed the SAPS at times.
The MEC promised to return to the area unannounced.
Her department will also have special awareness campaigns soon. She will continue to engage the Gauteng police leadership on the growing drug problem.
Nkosi Malobane is clearly a leader who takes no nonsense. She told the community she was "angry"
because she invited senior police officers to attend the meeting only to be told they are in a workshop for two days.
Earlier in the day, Mashaile
and I drove through some hotspots to see what was happening for ourselves. It's no secret that drug dealers are operating openly- some a few meters away from the Laudium police station.
A well know drug dealer approached us and openly threatened me. That's how they operate. We should not be intimated.
We must all stand up against drugs and fight the scourge. We must all say NO to drugs. Become an active citizen and let's pressurize authorities to act. Yes, act within the framework of the law and say #CountMeIn
#DrugWatch must become an on-going national initiative. Communities must own it.
I again repeated the call for the specialized narcotics units to return. The MEC, Mashaile and others agreed.
Stand up, do the right thing and make a difference in the spirit of #LeadSA.
Yusuf Abramjee is the Head of Crime Line and a Lead SA activist.