Authorities ignore pain of addicts

Several drug addicts chained were rescued at the No-Smoking Church of Christ in Moletji on Tuesday.
Several drug addicts chained were rescued at the No-Smoking Church of Christ in Moletji on Tuesday.

The suffering of a group of nyaope addicts in Limpopo continues unabated, and the provincial government and other relevant authorities seem not to be caring.

Last year, we highlighted the plight of these addicts, and despite an undertaking by some of the authorities no action has been taken so far to end the suffering of the young addicts.

Today, we report (page 4) that over 70 addicts continue to be subjected to harsh and inhumane conditions that are tantamount to torture at the same No-Smoking rehabilitation centre based at the Church of Christ in Moletjie outside Polokwane.

The addicts are still being chained from hand to ankle as if they were hardcore criminals plotting to escape the high walls of their prison. Though their plight is well-documented, it seems there's no end in sight to their suffering as the authorities drag their feet instead of intervening on their behalf.

Hopefully, the plight of the addicts, supposedly undergoing treatment, will change after the South African Human Rights Commission stepped in this week.

The commission has also indicated that they will open criminal charges against the curch. Despite, the SAHRC's good intentions they also stand accused of dropping the ball as far as this human rights matter is concerned.

The commission admits it knew about the illegal rehab's activities from way back in 2013 but still did not make sure it received the attention of law-enforcement. The police, on the other hand, are also disappointing on their part for not picking up on local talks about a tortuous programme in the community.

Hiding behind the defence that no one came to open a case is unacceptable because we expect police to be proactive in their work to protect the citizens, especially vulnerable groups such as this one of nyaope addicts.

It would appear the overall picture about the state's attitude towards nyaope is one of noninvolvement. We do not know of any strategy by the state to help the addicts - who are mostly teenagers and young adults from poor areas - to beat the nyaope trap.

SA can no longer afford to act like this huge national tragedy called nyaope addiction does not exist, and that whatever its consequences are, will dissipate on their own.

Let's act now and save the future of our country - the youth.

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