Durban - Despite the eThekwini Municipality’s attempts to get rid of the whoonga addicts at King Dinuzulu Park, most of the vagrants have managed to find their way back to the city.
Durban metro police officers have been hauling them away from different parts of Durban and dumping them on the outskirts of the city.
On Tuesday, The Mercury spoke to whoonga addicts who had been removed from Glenwood and Umbilo. They said this had been going on for four weeks.
Khayelihle Gumede, 19, said he had been dumped twice. About two weeks ago, metro police officers arrived at King Dinuzulu Park in the middle of the night.
“The officers came to the park and they did not tell us what they were doing. They loaded our stuff into the back of a truck, while others shoved us into another truck,” he said.
Gumede said some of the addicts tried escaping but “were caught and brought back with a hiding”.
“Some of the guys were not loaded into the truck like we were and we do not know what happened to them,” he said.
The Inanda teenager said about 30 of them were taken to Umzinto, on the South Coast, and dumped near the freeway.
“We found our way back to the freeway, but we left one of the guys there because he had a wound on his foot,” he said.
We went different ways, some walked back to Durban, but I joined a group which went to the nearest town to beg for money,” he said.
Eventually he made his way back to Durban.
More recently, he said, he was dumped in a field in Verulam, north of Durban.
“We did not have money, so we walked back immediately.”
He said he always watched his back for fear he might be taken again.
His friend, Nhlanhla Mhlongo, 20, from Ntuzuma, said he escaped when the others were being loaded into the truck.
“There is a metro cop I know who was there, he told them to leave me,” he said.
KwaMashu’s Sakhile Msomi, 20, said he was in a group which was dumped in Ndwedwe on the North Coast. He was caught while begging at a robot on Saturday.
“They did not ask anything, they just came straight to me with knobkieries, hit me and took me to the back of the truck,” he said.
Msomi had money from begging, and was able to take a taxi from Ndwedwe to Verulam, and from there he walked back to the city.
The addicts denied that they were asked where their homes were before being loaded into the trucks, as eThekwini has said. They were no longer staying at King Dinuzulu Park, because they were scared of being taken again.