Four Eldos 'lolli lounge' children sent to rehab

Jacob Zuma and Nomvula Mokonyane on a visit to Eldorado Park on May 14. (Gallo)

Jacob Zuma and Nomvula Mokonyane on a visit to Eldorado Park on May 14. (Gallo)

Mokonyane was briefing journalists on Wednesday on action taken since President Jacob Zuma's pledge last week to crack down on rampant drug abuse in the area.

On May 14, Zuma addressed residents after receiving a letter from resident Cordelia Bailey about drug abuse.

In the letter Bailey described "lolli lounges" as places where young girls were lured with payments of R100 to entertain men. They became hooked on drugs and stayed on as prostitutes, getting their drugs for free as they kept clients "happy".

At the time Zuma called it "a crisis, an abnormality" and a committee was appointed to tackle the problem.

"Four children have been taken away and they are now in alternative centres because of their vulnerability," Mokonyane said.

The Gauteng premier added that 20 people had been arrested in connection with operating the "lolli lounges".

She is on the committee, along with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Gauteng provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros and representatives of the departments of social development, correctional services, trade and industry and economic development.

Rehabilitation and aftercare
A joint operations centre had been established and Petros would coordinate the drug-busting policing with Metro police.

Plans were afoot to start a seven-day intensive detoxification programme at nearby Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, as well as other programmes for rehabilitation and aftercare.

Buildings that belonged to the City of Johannesburg and were being used for drug activities would be cleared or demolished.

A meeting with school governing bodies was planned, school gates would be closed during the day, fences repaired and vendors around schools scrutinised. There would be "patrollers" within school premises.

By-laws would be enforced and the committee would examine the possibility of introducing World Cup-style specialist courts to deal swiftly with drug-related crime in the area.

A march against drugs would be held on June 2. Mokonyane apologised to residents for potential annoyance during the crackdown.

"But it is going to be in the best interests of our community," Mokonyane said. – Sapa



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