Fight Against Substance Abuse

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Premier Lesufi Highlights Urgent Challenges in the Fight Against Substance
Abuse

Israel Hutchinson 

The Third National Summit on Substance Abuse opened with a stark acknowledgment from Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, who underscored the gravity of the challenges faced by South Africa in combating the rising tide of drugs and illicit activities. In his impassioned opening address, Premier Lesufi did not mince words, declaring that South Africa is losing the battle against drugs.

The Premier’s address shed light on three main issues that have been a source of irritation for Gauteng. Firstly, he identified drug lords as a significant menace, emphasising the need for robust measures to counter their influence. Secondly, he expressed concern about the proliferation of taverns across the province, suggesting that they have become breeding grounds for illegal activities. Lastly, Premier Lesufi highlighted the issue of  Zama Zamas, illegal miners who often contribute to the illicit drug trade.

Perhaps most striking was Premier Lesufi’s disappointment over the absence of top officials from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). He stressed that Gauteng requires additional firepower to effectively tackle the drug lords and criminal networks operating in the region. This plea for support from law enforcement agencies underscores the urgency of the situation and the need for a coordinated response.

Furthermore, Premier Lesufi expressed his dismay at the perceived misdirection of the creative industry, particularly television, for glorifying themes of alcohol, sex, and violence. He argued that this cultural influence contributes to the normalization of behaviors that exacerbate the challenges faced in the fight against substance abuse.

In conclusion, Premier Lesufi’s opening address at the Third National Summit on Substance Abuse painted a stark picture of the uphill battle Gauteng faces. While affirming the political will to address the issue, he made it clear that much more needs to be done. The summit stands as a critical platform to galvanize efforts, foster collaboration, and pave the way for concrete actions to win the battle against drugs in South Africa.

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