News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday April 21st 2019

Cosatu accused of cheap talk in tik fight

Using a lighter and foil is one method used by heroin users to consume the drug. (Staged picture) photo: Neil Baynes/Icon ImageA year ago, Cosatu in the Western Cape vowed to mobilise in the war on drug abuse and gangster activity on the Cape Flats but, to date, they have nothing to show for it.

Cosatu’s plans were announced to fanfare after a mass meeting held in July last year to initiate a plan of action in the province.

Now the Western Cape Provincial Development Council (WCPDC) is being partially blamed for halting the tri-partite alliance partner’s progress.

Cosatu Provincial Secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the follow-up meeting was delayed by the DA-led provincial government because they were finalising their drug strategy at the time.

“We were asked every month to delay our follow-up meeting and after six months I stopped inquiring,” he said.

The WCPDC’s social development coordinator, Nikitta Vazi, confirmed that proceedings were held up because provincial government’s strategy was only tabled in April 2010.

Vazi said they were still working on their document which looks at substance abuse and the broader issues, rather than focusing on the anti-drug campaign that Cosatu wanted to table at the time.

The sudden urgency shortly after the DA won the province in last year’s general elections raised eyebrows over whether Cosatu’s anti-drugs drive was a ploy to win votes for the ANC by an alliance party.

But Ehrenreich said at the time that the anti-drug initiative was aimed at unifying and uplifting communities and had no political motive although “we know of others” who had used the fight against drugs for political gain.

Those who have been on the frontline in the war against drugs are disappointed by the delay.

Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Line trauma counsellor Geraldine Young said the organisation felt let down by Cosatu because there had been no follow-up after an initial meeting.

Although she commended the provincial government’s efforts, Young also criticised them for not considering their input during the meeting.

People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) spokesperson Cassiem Parker said it’s “sad and tragic that political fighting is causing the suffering of our people.”

“We suspect plans have stopped because people belonging to different political parties won’t work together,” he added.

Parker said Pagad suspects the move was politically motivated.

“Our position on drugs and willingness to participate in eradicating the scourge is still there and yet we know political parties might not want to include Pagad because of our reputation,” he said.

But Vazi has reassured Cosatu and other role players that they will have an opportunity to convey their input when the document is up for debate next month. – Yugendree Naidoo, West Cape News

Tags: Cosatu, tik

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