Nathi Nhleko

Durban - The desperation of the African youth is a time bomb, Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko said on Wednesday.

The minister was quoting international reports in his ­address to delegates at the ­Russia-Africa Anti-Drug Dialogue conference, which was held at the Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, in Durban, this week.

“As we recognise South Africa’s peace and security challenges, what is most worrying is the youth,” he said.

Further, he said the population was expected to double by 2050, and that governments were facing challenges in creating sufficient job opportunities for new potential employees.

“This is cause for concern,” the minister said.

Nhleko borrowed from the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in saying the drug trade was a global challenge and a national tragedy for some countries. It was a breeding ground for organised crime and terrorism, he said.

“Boko Haram is expanding and its threat has gone beyond Nigeria. And in East Africa, al-Shabaab in Somalia was recruiting members from Kenya and launching attacks.”

He said inter-continental partnerships were important, and this partnership, between Russia and Africa, re-affirmed a commitment to fight the drug trade.

While maritime trafficking was not the most widely used method, Nhleko said law enforcement operations at sea had the greatest impact.

The eastern shores were becoming more common for Afghan heroin shipments and West Africa continued to be a transit hub for cocaine from Latin America.

The effects of the drugs on developing countries were far-reaching.

The minister said they resulted in health problems, which affected productivity and contributed to the spread of HIV/Aids.

He said they placed extra stresses on communities and used up funds that could otherwise be used on development.