11 July 2012
National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, addressing the fifth anniversary of anonymous tip-off service Crime Line on Tuesday, called on South Africans to mobilise against drug abuse in celebration of Mandela Day.
Speaking at an event in Johannesburg, Manuel said that drugs were not just about consumption and sale but about the destruction of families and communities who were often caught together in the downward spiral that came with drugs.
“It is the cause of drug wars,” Manuel said. “It is the cause of gangsterism. We must get to the root to ensure we uplift our communities again.”
Manuel called on the media to mobilise South Africans to identify drug dealers and pass that information on to the authorities as a collective Mandela Day initiative.
The police would not succeed in their task unless there was support and involvement from every member of South African society, Manuel said, adding that active citizenship would produce results.
Manuel also highlighted the need for continuity, saying South Africans could not only look back on the successes of the past. “The nature of the struggle is very different, but the struggle is continuous,” he said.
80% of Crime Line tip-offs drug-related
Head of Crime Line Yusuf Abramjee noted that 80% of tip-offs to Crime Line were drug-related, an indication that more needed to be done to stop the scourge.
He appealed to National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega to consider re-introducing a specialised narcotics unit to deal with the problem effectively.
In the past five years, tip-offs to Crime Line have led to more than 3 000 arrests and more than R41-million in seizures of stolen and counterfeit goods and drugs.
These included tip-offs that had led to the arrest of some of the country’s most wanted criminals, including murderers, rapists, car hijackers and ATM bombers.
“It’s not enough,” Abramjee said. “This figure is far too low. We need more tip-offs from the community. I want to say to the public of South Africa: don’t be scared, break your silence and let’s retake our streets.”
Anonymous SMSs to the Crime Line number – 32211 – cost R1 each, and can be sent 24 hours a day. Tip-offs can also be sent electronically via www.crimeline.co.za.
Phiyega, also speaking at Tuesday’s event, stressed the need for partnerships, saying police officers required the support of all South Africans.
She acknowledged increasing participation of communities in reporting crime, and applauded South Africans for their bravery.