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South Africa: Life Changes for the Better in Eldorado Park
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Jun 27, 2013

“… So much change has taken place in Eldorado Park. For me and my family, it’s the little things such as a peaceful night’s rest. We now shed tears of joy, relief and amazement,” read an excerpt from the letter.

Head of Crime Line and Lead SA activist, Yusuf Abramjee, said South Africans had to “fight the drug scourge with all the vigour and energy” at their disposal.

“Today is just the beginning. We have to join hands and fight this evil with all the passion that we have. The drug dealers and manufacturers cannot continue to hold us ransom.

“We need to unite and make sure that we encourage communities to blow the whistle on crime, but our focus should be the drug dealers and manufacturers. These are the big fish we need to target.

“Through Drug Watch we are appealing to people to break their silence. Let’s hear the stories. Give us information about drug dealers and manufacturers. We will make sure that such people are arrested and taken to the court of law where they will be convicted and punished.”

Abramjee said drugs were devastating many lives and ruining communities across South Africa.

He said Drug Watch aimed to “squeeze the space” in which drug dealers are able to operate and to enable communities to deal with the problem.

“As a Lead SA and Crime Line initiative, Drug Watch aims to highlight and strengthen the efforts of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department and Community Policing Forums in clamping down on the trade of drugs,” he said.

Support for Drug Watch

Drug Watch has the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, who was unable to attend the launch due to having a bout of flu.

Speaking on her behalf, Education MEC Barbara Creecy said: “As government, we’ve made it clear that the fight against drug abuse is one of our focus key areas. As such, we are appealing to the people to join this partnership.”

President Jacob Zuma also extended his support too. In a letter of endorsement, the President said: “It is clear that working together, we are poised to intensify the war on drugs and succeed.

“We have to target the drug manufacturers and dealers. We also have to start the healing process in communities who have been torn apart as a result of the drug scourge.”

Gauteng Police Commissioner Mzwandile Petros said the campaign would help to mobilise the community to work with government in dealing with the scourge of drugs.

“This is going to be a tool that we will be using as police officers on a daily basis to fight crime. It is very clear with this initiative that community members are tired of criminal activities. Our message to criminals is that it is now time for you to stop committing crime,” he said.

Abramjee added that it was time to educate and inform the nation about the “drug evil” the country is facing.

“Through this initiative, we also aiming to give people an opportunity to break the silence on the destruction that drugs have caused in their lives, families and communities.

“Drug Watch seeks to connect those in need of help with the relevant organisations to move them towards rehabilitation and reintegration into society,” he said.

Drug Watch was first launched in the Western Cape in November 2012 and ran until January 2013. During that period, according to Abramjee, a total of 15 919 arrests were made in connection with drugs.

He said drugs worth over R10.5 million were seized in the same period.

“We hope to do the same in Gauteng,” he said.

The Guateng launch of Drug Watch coincides with the United Nations Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

*Read Dereleen James’s letter

Dear Dad... Mr President. I've been meaning to write to you for the past seven weeks already. But things are happening so fast in our community that I don't seem to get a chance.

One would think government officials live in Eldorado Park. Your dedicated team has become family. Everyone knows everyone on a first name basis. Our Premier [Nomvula Mokonyane] is like our community mom. She walked the streets with us on Sunday, 2 June, giving stern warnings to those who harm our kids. I must add, her Afrikaans is improving by the day.

I admired MEC Faith [Mazibuko]. She was heading up the march herself, ensuring our safety ... What a vibrant and hands on woman she is. Her department [Community Safety], as well as Social Development, seems to be working round the clock. I salute them.

Dad, Mr President... Everything we have asked you to do you seems to be doing. We asked that ‘you get your hands dirty’ and u seem to be doing just that. So much change has taken place in Eldorado Park.

For me and my family, it’s the little things such as a peaceful night’s rest. We now shed tears of joy, relief and amazement.

Do you remember what I told you in our first letter? I quote: "We as mother share stories of living hell". That seems to be changing. We now share stories of hope and restoration... There's still tons of work to be done but I thought I’d say thank you to you and your team for giving our families and kids a second chance at life.

Thank you for allowing God to use you as a vessel. Bless you!! I know and truly believe that great change is about to take place in our country. God has spoken and you have acted.

The road ahead might be long but at least it’s not dark. In closing, I’d like to say ... the world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.
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