The "chemical warfare” waged in the country by drug dealers should stop, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said on Tuesday (10/07/2012).
"Can we mobilise South Africans across the country... can we make a call on people to identify the drug dealers?” he said in Johannesburg.
Manuel, who heads the national planning commission, said drugs were causing the destruction of families and communities.
"What stands between many South Africans and a better life is the chemical warfare against our youngsters.”
Manuel was speaking at an event to mark the fifth anniversary of the Crime Line SMS 32111 anonymous tip-off service, endorsed by the police and promoted by Primedia Broadcasting.
He said problems with drugs were not limited to their consumption and sale.
"It’s about the destruction of families... theft in the street, theft in the neighbourhood. Nothing and nobody is allowed to have any possessions and everybody is caught in that downward spiral.” Drugs caused warfare against youths and gangsterism.
"We will fail unless we get to the root of it,” he continued.
People spoke of crime affecting potential foreign direct investment, but the effects were closer to home.
"The first targets of the petty gangsters in townships are those who have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and have invested in a small medium or micro enterprise,” he said.
To mark former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18, people should disclose the names of drug dealers. The police could not be left to "fight the war” alone, he said.
Western Cape provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Arnold Lamoer said the recent confiscation by police of vast amounts of Mandrax tablets and the drug "tik” showed the extent of the problem in the country.
"The country must be rescued from drug dealers, criminals and gangsters.” National police commissioner Riah Phiyega lamented the slaying of five police officers since she took office less than a month ago.
"One slain police officer is one too many,” she said.
She spent time over the past weekend with the family of Warrant Officer Mawethu Nelson Siganga in the Eastern Cape who was shot while he and three colleagues were trying to arrest six people - two of them escapees from jail.
"The experience was painful. It gave me a different picture of the seriousness the police are facing with police killings.”
Phiyega said she was convinced South Africans wanted to be part of the fight against crime and saw that people were willing to help the police.
Initiatives such as Crime Line, and the police’s own Crime Stop 08600-10111 number, were ways people could help.
Phiyega was appointed on June 12, after her predecessor Bheki Cele was "released” during a controversy over a lease for new police office space.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who found the lease to have been unlawful and improper, was at the function, but did not address guests.
Phiyega said the police had also recognised the value of social media and had set up a Twitter profile which had attracted 2000 followers in two months.
Crime Line head Yusuf Abramjee, also group head for news and current affairs at Primedia Broadcasting, said Crime Line worked closely with Crime Stop to ensure police acted on information. It had led to over 3000 arrests so far. Eighty percent of their tip-offs were drug-related.
He appealed to Phiyega to reintroduce specialised units to clamp down on drugs.
The function included a display by sniffer dogs Timmy and Lolita who demonstrated their skills by detecting a package of drugs, and a teddy bear containing rhino horn, planted in the vicinity of Manuel, Madonsela and Phiyega. - Sapa