Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters and anti-drug and gangsterism group Pagad have jointly declared war on drug cartels and crime syndicates operating in the Western Cape.
The two unlikely allies announced on Wednesday they were teaming up to muster the largest number of people to take up the fight against drugs.
And they said they would do so without fear of intimidation by organised gangsters, vowing to expose all those making a living off drug trafficking. Announcing the formation of the United Front Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Ufagad) on Wednesday, Pagad leader Abdus Salaam Ebrahim said their co-operative agreement was based on mutual aims and objectives.
But Ebrahim stressed that Pagad reserved the right to reassess the relationship if it was discovered that the EFF had compromised the organisation’s principles.
“We will remain an independent organisation. The EFF is an independent political party while Pagad remains a divine-based movement.”
Ufagad is calling on like-minded organisations and political parties to join their cause and stand up for communities plagued by gangsterism and drug-related crime.
But the invite comes with a warning: Pagad will not foster a working relationship with any organisation, movement or political party that is funded by oppressive governments or corporations.
Ebrahim stopped short of naming the DA, Cope and ACDP as among the parties it would not do business with, because of their party funding.
EFF’s regional co-ordinator, Lephallo X Mohoto, said Ufagad would work in co-operation with the police.
“Fighting crime is ultimately a police responsibility,” Mohoto said. Although the police had conceded that they needed community help to fight crime”.
Mohoto warned that if not tackled, the country’s drug problems would destroy communities and damage the economy.
“We must destroy it before it destroys us. Our government, local and provincial councils also need to be more responsive to the problem and to help.”
Pagad and the EFF said they envisioned that Ufagad would ultimately consist of NGOs, student organisations, women’s organisations, civil society, political organisations, trade unions, cultural organisations, inter-faith organisations, community organisations and concerned individuals.
They said they planned to go about ridding society of gangs and drugs in a peaceful manner, but would use public exposure as their primary weapon to shine a light on the activities of drug lords and gangs.
Their plans included thrashing out aims and objectives for the group, as well as programmes to target schools and youth organisations.
A call centre where people could report drug-related crimes and activities in any area would also be established.
And while Ufagad would work in liaison with the police, where the police failed to respond, or worked in collusion with the drug lords and gangsters, they too would be exposed.
Next month the group will meet other organisations interested in joining the front, to draft and adopt Ufagad’s constitution and action plans, and to elect leadership.
The group indicated their first joint march would probably be held in Langa in the next few weeks, after residents had urged the EFF to bring in Pagad to help tackle crime in the area.