South Africa: Dr Zweli Mkhize Launches Kwazulu-Natal Anti-Substance Abuse Forum

press release

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize and his Cabinet today launched the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Anti-Substance Abuse Forum at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

"We meet today, a few days before we begin March, the month which the democratic government declared as the Human Rights Month. The democratic government has put in place programmes to promote and protect human rights of every citizen."

"Sections 10 to 12(1) of Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), grants citizens the right to have their dignity respected and protected, the right to life, and the right to freedom and security."

"The freedom, security and human rights of ordinary members of society cannot be guaranteed if there is an increase in the brutal crime associated with substance abuse. Although crime statistics from police show a substantial decline, substance abuse related crimes have shown a steady increase."

"As we launch this forum today, I am calling upon all leaders of society: members of cabinet, heads of departments, mayors, municipal managers, religious leaders, traditional leaders, and non-governmental organisations to show leadership and be at the forefront of the fight to eradicate substance abuse from our society"

"Illicit drug trafficking occurs in the community and in most cases criminals who are involved are our neighbours. Some are masterminds who drive flashy cars and are respected in the community. Critically, young people are recruited by these masterminds for housebreakings, shoplifting, armed robberies and car hijackings. The arrest of kingpins in Chatsworth shows that working together, we can make an impact."

"The sad part is that we often get reports of youngsters from KZN who get arrested overseas. Recently, a young lady from the Wentworth township was executed overseas for drug trafficking. This is a clear indication that KZN has been rapidly integrated into the global drug trade."

"With the two harbours, Richards Bay and Durban, within our province's boundaries as well as the state-of-the-art Dube Trade Port which boasts an agri-zone, a cyber-port, a cargo terminal as well as the King Shaka International Airport, we provide an easy access to the world especially for drug traffickers."

"If we are not vigilant, the province's infrastructure which was created to create a better and prosperous KwaZulu-Natal will be used by drug traffickers to fund their own empires, causing political and socio-economic instability. The UN Associations estimate the value of the global drugs market at $320 billion a year - rivalling the worldwide markets in oil, wheat and arms."

"Through this forum we must strengthen the partnership amongst all the criminal justice agencies, government departments, local authorities, academics, traditional leaders, religious organisations, schools, parents, sports groups, the media and the private sector."

"The Draft KZN Anti-Substance Abuse Strategy which we have presented today will act as the blueprint for the province's response to drug abuse - clarifying the role of each government department and all stakeholders who are part of the forum. Importantly, it will unify the people of KwaZulu-Natal to win the war against drug and substance abuse."

Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier

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