Cape Town -

More than 8 000 people have been arrested and more than R5 million worth of drugs have been confiscated since the launch of Operation Drug Watch on November 26.

Operation Drug Watch is a LeadSA collaborative initiative between the Cape Argus, 567 CapeTalk, 94.5 Kfm and Western Cape law enforcement agencies to curb the drug trade in the province.

Readers and listeners are encouraged to report drug-peddling in their areas and are given insight to the latest news on drug-related arrests and confiscations.

Since the campaign launch, 8 031 people have been arrested for drug-related crimes and police have confiscated drugs valued at R5 462 308.76.

Dagga, mandrax and tik account for the bulk of the confiscations and are linked to the most arrests.

Of all the arrests in the past month, the Manenberg police station has had the most – contributing 6.53 percent of the number of arrests, followed by Mitchells Plain and Delft.

Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut said the arrests or “successes” were “inevitably as a result of police intervention”.

“Drug-related crimes are categorised under ‘crimes heavily dependent on police action’,” said Traut.

Fourteen of the top 15 police stations with the highest number of arrests – excluding Cape Town Central police station – would regularly conduct drug and gang-related operations, Traut said.

“These arrests account for 47 percent of total arrests.”

He said police would continue to focus on these areas.

“It is no secret that drugs are synonymous with gangsterism, and apart from areas such as Cape Town – where drug arrests are also prevalent – the majority of arrests are made in gang-affected areas,”

Police have arrested 1 876 people in the past week.

Police confiscated more than 162kg of dagga this week, valued at R227 845.73, and tik with an estimated street value of R745 863.61.

Heroin with an estimated street value of R202 096.57 was seized while mandrax worth R53 599.73 was confiscated.

In Mitchells Plain, 115 people were arrested while 100 people were arrested in Manenberg this week.

Western Cape provincial commissioner Arno Lamoer said the impact of the campaign would only be determined at a later stage. He said, however, there had been an in increase in drug arrests and confiscations.

“The main thing about the campaign is that we’ve had a heightened awareness about drugs,” he said.

Lamoer encouraged people to continue providing useful information to assist police.

“It is important and we would like to urge everybody to continue supplying information and to refrain from using drugs and enriching drug dealers,” he said.

Lamoer also raised concerns about alcohol abuse during the festive season and missing children who get lost during festivities or as a result of alcohol abuse.

“We are also going to be clamping down on drunk driving,” he said.

Metro police chief Wayne le Roux, said they had seen successes since the start of the campaign: “Particularly in the last month, we’ve had some good confiscations.”

He said police had capitalised on raising awareness by handing out pamphlets about the campaign and services provided.

“We made use of it as an awareness month for LeadSA, enforcing and educating people.

“We tell people where the centres are and it’s time for us to go and talk to people and interact with the public telling them that there are centres available if they want to get help.”

He said they would continue with operations that have yielded successful results – focusing on vehicle check points and constant house searches.

“I think we’ve seen the positive results and have made use of the campaign in the metro – using it as a marketing tool and a chance to interact with the public and to cultivate (responsibility),” Le Roux said.

Cape Argus