Rietfontein residents in Ten Rooms, Refentse and Sunway village, say the use of drugs, particularly Nyaope, is causing significant damage to their communities.
“Nyaope is causing irreparable damage to the lives of our youth. I’ve been working with some community members and we’ve manage to get one drug dealer out of the area. Although he is gone, he has now recruited people to sell Nyaope in the area. He comes to do deliveries and his recruits sell from different spots around Hartbeespoort, some hiding in the bushes. Community members want to chase drug addicts from the community instead of doing away with those who bring drugs to our streets. They are afraid to point out Nyaope sellers because of intimidation. I suggested to them that we must not chase the addicts in our community but help them instead, because some of them have come forward and they want out,” says Sophonia Ramohlale, a Ten Rooms resident.
Residents are concerned about increased robberies, burglaries and other crimes that have increased in the area and can be linked to Nyaope use, not only in Rietfontein but the entire Hartbeespoort. They say addicts sell stolen items to buy Nyaope and feed their ongoing cravings.
“Fighting with drug sellers is not a solution, the best way to deal with this issue is to educate the drug users about the negative effects of drugs” says Ashley ‘Zonke’ Masango chairperson of the Hartbeespoort Zonke’s Anti-Drug Foundation. The foundation aims to keep children free from drugs and alcohol.
Zonke stresses that there is a need to teach young people that when faced with difficulties, they must not turn to drugs. The Anti-Drug Foundation works in and around schools and communities in Hartbeespoort area educating young people about drugs. The foundation holds sessions in different schools and hosts gaming activities for young people in communities. During the gatherings with young people the foundation talks about the negative effects of drugs and how it destroys lives.
“We aim to reach all communities in Hartbeespoort, but due to lack of funds and resources, the impact made by the foundation is very small. The people working at the foundation are all volunteers who also have full time jobs and families, so the progress of the foundation is slow,” said Zonke.
Currently the foundation is being assisted by Drug Free World Africa with reading material containing information about drugs commonly found in our communities. These materials are distributed at the foundation’s events. “We call on the police and relevant departments to join hands with us in doing campaigns in schools and communities. We also plead to those who can assist with sponsorship to come forward and help so we can increase the capacity and impact of the foundation.”
Contact Zonke on 078 541 5972.