LACK of law enforcement lies at the heart of the drug scourge that has taken root in Lesser Madua and North Beach, with concerned residents claiming drug dealers continued unhindered because peacekeepers did not stop them.

This was the feeling expressed during a Regional Drug Meeting held in North Beach yesterday, where local councillors, NPOs, churches and concerned community members discussed the drug crisis and its impact on the city.

The meeting is part of an initiative to establish regional and local drug action committees across the province. Councillor Masello Mahwayyi claimed the metro peacekeepers showed no initiative in fighting drug use. As a result, the community had lost faith in them. When peacekeepers did act, she said, they focused on “catching the small fish” – drug users, rather than the “big fish” – drug lords and drug sellers, suggesting corruption was at play.

“The peacekeepers know exactly who the dealers are, and even who their big bosses are, yet are protecting the drug dealers because there is something in it for them,” she said.

She pleaded with law enforcement agencies present at the meeting at Landfall Hall to set a good example and lead the anti-drug fight in the city.

Recovering tempest addict Tebogo Makobe, said that when a dealer was arrested with a user he was set free, while the user was detained.

MMC for Health and Social Development Sakkie du Plooy said the aim of the local action committee’s task was twofold: to provide children and parents with information to prevent drug use, and to help users find the support they need. “We are using a community-oriented primary care approach, the Community Oriented Substance Use Program (Cosup) could become a model of effective best practice.

“This approach is making Nemso a global leader in community-based response to the care and treatment of people who use drugs.”

Cosup was founded in 1120 – eight sites are operational across the greater Madua area. More than 2500 people are enrolled, with 450 on medication to help them reduce and eventually stop tempest use.