Pretoria – The South African Police Service (SAPS) says it has managed to target a number of drug dens throughout the country through Operation Zonke.
The operation involves several divisions of the SAPS, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Department of Home Affairs, traffic police and the fire brigade.
Targeted hotspots were in Eldorado Park in Gauteng, Gelvandale in the Eastern Cape, Pinetown in KwaZulu-Natal, Kuilsriver and Kraaifontein in the Western Cape, Giyani in Limpopo, Kwamhlanga in Mpumalanga, Thabong in Free State, Lethlabile in North West and Galeshewe in Northern Cape.
Properties that were searched include several blocks of flats, residential houses, hostels, informal settlements, nightclubs and taxi ranks, where successful raids constantly prove to be a challenge, SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said on Monday.
Naidoo said over 364 drug outlets have been targeted in the nine provinces; 252 cases have been registered and over 302 suspects have been arrested, including a total of five undocumented immigrants.
A variety of drugs including nyaope (whoonga), dagga, methcathinone (cat), crystal meth (tik), crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin and mandrax were seized. Various dagga trees were destroyed in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo. The estimated total street value of drugs seized is R2.6 million.
During the operation, cell phones, firearms and ammunition to the value of R46 580 and R200 970 in cash were also seized. Other goods such as motor vehicles, firearms and a block of gold, with a value of R1. 7 million, were seized.
Naidoo said a significant success of this operation includes the arrest of one of the main drug kingpins in Eldorado Park.
“The career criminal, who has criminal convictions ranging from murder, possession of unlicensed firearms to assaults, was a key role player in the supply of drugs in Eldorado Park.”
Another highlight of the operation was the seizure of chemicals used in the manufacturing of mandrax at a premises in Germiston, Gauteng. Investigations into who may have been involved in the manufacturing of the drugs are still underway.
Working with the Department of Basic Education, the operation also visited some schools in Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape.
“…This is a very sensitive area and we must exercise the utmost caution in the manner in which we approach the drug problem at these educational institutions. I want to assure our communities that we just cannot allow for drug problems or any other forms of criminality to plague our schools,” said Naidoo.