Vagrants took to the streets

By Lizeka Maduna

Scores of Vagrants took to the streets in Durban on Friday.

Durban whoonga addicts paraded West Street to the Durban City hall on a march that was organised by the Asibasize Campaign, to hand over a memorandum to the eThekwini Mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo.

The addicts said that they are tired of whoonga and would like the municipality to intervene and shut down all the dealers who are making business out of them.

On the memorandum, they raised their concerns and complaints about the mistreatment by the Durban Metro Police towards them.

 According to Alex Mthethwa (31) from Umkomaas, metro police assault them and take everything from them including their belongings.

“We are tired of the Metro police’s abuse that is why today [on Friday] we are gathered here to plead with the municipality to help us because not all of us are whoonga addicts and criminals, some of us are here to look for jobs but since we cannot afford to rent a flat we are dwelling on the streets.” said Mthethwa.

He added that metro police also round them up and dump them in far-off areas such as Umzimkhulu, Stanger and South Coast.

A gospel singer, Nhlakanipho Cele said their mandate as Asibasize Campaign is to shut down whoonga and help these addicts to sustain themselves so that they would be given a second chance to become part of the community.

“I understand these people from a personal experience, I grew up in a township and I was once into drugs and jailed that is why I established this campaign.  They once stole from me however I never punished them instead I tried to help them because they need our assistance as a community to help them overcome their addiction”.

The municipality said that they are willing to help rehabilitate these addicts, however the challenge they are faced with is that some of them don’t want to go to rehabilitation centres.

The municipality is expected to respond the memorandum within a period of 7 days, however Cele said that if the municipality doesn’t respond within given time they will march again and the matters could get out of hand.

ingwe 2014-08-30 12:49:38 PM
The main help the municipality has thus far provided has been to have the municipal police round these people up and to then bus them to the neighboring municipalities to be dumped. These operations are conducted in as sneaky a manner as is possible. They (the municipal police) have been found out, photographed and questioned when dumping people in South Coast areas, the local papers have printed reports on this problem. Durban (eThekwini) should take responsibility for their problems rather than attempting to pass the buck.
John Greystoke 2014-08-30 01:11:44 PM
Willing buyer willing seller? Supply and demand? Demand and supply?
Mark Windsor 2014-08-30 05:02:58 PM
The title of this piece is a little odd. Vagrants took to the streets. That sort of in the definition, isn't it? Like "Fish take to water". That said, I'm glad addicts are seeking help.
deepchund.ramchurren 2014-08-31 12:05:32 PM
How sincere are these addicts when they threaten that if there is no response within 7 days they will march again and things may get out of hand. These addicts are holding the city to ransom, I hope the police do whatever is necessary to maintain law and order, whether its Metro or SAPS. These addicts must take responsibility for their own lives.