Cape Town police confiscate illegal drugs in pre-holiday crackdown

Intelligence-driven operations in Cape Town’s suburbs have led to wanted suspects being arrested and illegal drugs confiscated in a pre-festive season police clampdown.

Western Cape provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile commended police officers for “moving a step forward in creating a safer environment for the inhabitants of this province, ahead of the festive season”.

On Friday 3 December, members of the South African Police Service’s Maitland flying squad acted on intelligence to apprehend two suspects found in possession of crystal methamphetamine, known locally as tik, with an estimated street value of R350 000.

In a separate raid, the detective division in Kensington and the anti-gang unit swooped on a well-known gang stronghold in Factreton. A black Uzi submachine gun with its serial number filed off and 599 rounds of various ammunition were seized, as well as mandrax tablets, heroin, tik and ecstasy.

Elsewhere, two suspects aged between 21 and 25 were arrested for murder after being linked to one and two cases of murder, respectively. A woman was also arrested on charges of possessing a prohibited firearm, ammunition and drugs.

The Kensington community policing forum welcomed the police’s clampdown on illegal drugs ahead of the festive season. 

The latest drugs bust is partly the result of a long-standing investigation, supported by intelligence, after police had to rethink the way they tackled illegal drug enterprises, Kensington community policing forum chair Cheslyn Steenberg told the Mail & Guardian . 

“These gangs are very clever in what they do and how they do it … this is an indication that we are not dealing with mediocre types of gangs. We are now dealing with a very structured way of gangsterism, of organised crime,” Steenberg said.

“We are happy that the drugs were seized, especially now with the festive season coming up. You will also see that the types of drugs that were seized were ecstasy, heroin, mandrax and tik,” Steenberg said, noting that while mandrax was associated with the “guy on the street”, ecstacy and heroin were targeted at more “upmarket” consumers.

In general, drug abuse tends to rise all across the country during the Christmas holiday season, according to Donovan Webb, the Kensington community policing forum’s communication officer. 

“Drug dealers tend to sell more drugs in the festive season because everybody’s at home. So drug users for recreational purposes, which are mainly weekend users, are now at home and they become everyday users,” Webb said.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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