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.