Whoonga battle lost

A COMMUNITY-BASED anti-drug organisation has been forced to close its doors because of a lack of funding.

Whoonga Free, formed more than a year ago to combat drugs and rehabilitate addicted youths in townships across KwaZulu-Natal, had transformed the lives of 50 youths before it collapsed late last month.

"This is very sad," said co-founder Vumani Gwala.

The drug is a deadly concoction of heroin and rat poison. It hit the headlines last year when it emerged that one of its ingredients was anti-retroviral medication.

But University of KwaZulu-Natal's Thavendran Govender, who tested samples of whoonga, found that it was based on rat poison and heroin - not ARVs.

Gwala said since the organisation's collapse, two former members had landed in jail for rape and armed robbery.

"We tried everything to try to get funding to keep the organisation afloat but failed.

"Co-founder Thokozani Sokhulu and I used money from our own pockets for more than a year to try to keep it going, but it was just no use," he said.