Mothers in arms. Dereleen James(L) comforts Hazel Herandien who broke down crying while talking about the pain and torment she has been experiencing with her son's drug habits and the anguish caused to countless other families who live in Aldorado Park who have been effected by the scourge of drug addiction amongst in the community especially youngsters. Dereleen who wrote the letter pleading for help which whent viral has also had to deal with her own sons drug addiction and recently had to book him into a drug rehabilitation centre. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 29/04/2013

Johannesburg - Theirs is a plea written from the trauma of seeing a generation destroyed by tik, cat and nyaope - and they’ve had enough.

They have written a letter and it is addressed to Dad - President Jacob Zuma.

The letter is signed by the “desperate moms and sisters”. They are the women who are watching the Eldorado Park crystal meth epidemic rip their families apart.

“A wave of drugs has swept over our community and taken over our lives. Killing our children by the day. Children as young as eight are drug addicts… boys and girls.

“We no longer get together to boast about the achievements of our children, but rather to share our lives of living hell and despair,” the letter reads.

Dereleen James wrote the letter on March 18 to her friends, documenting her struggle with trying to get her 17-year-old son off tik.

The letter went viral and spread.

Others added their stories to the letter, and more people read it.

A month later, the Presidency finally responded.

On Monday, Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, acknowledged that they had received the letter.

“We are looking into it to see what can be done,” he said.

On Monday, James, sitting in her Eldorado Park home, pointed out the residences of six dealers that could be seen from her living room window.

A little later in the day, she planned to head to a nearby filling station to buy back her son’s shoes, which he had pawned. Her son is in a rehab facility in De Deur.

“Our future generation is nonexistent,” James said. She said that every week she hears of a child dying.

Last week, it was Diallo Soloman, who hanged himself. He was a drug addict.

“Three weeks ago, I chased him away from my house,” said James.

On Monday, they planned to hold a picket on the corner of Hoof Road and the Golden Highway, carrying placards with Diallo’s photograph.

Over the past couple of weeks they have held several pickets on that spot and, James said, sometimes the drug dealers drive past and hoot.

A week ago, an alleged 16-year-old addict burnt to death while trying to steal electrical cables.

In the three years that James’s son has been been a drug addict, he has lost 37kg. He has stolen from his mother and threatened to kill her. It was out of this frustration that she wrote that letter.

The letter calls for a crackdown on police corruption, the establishment of a rehab centre and compulsory drug tests at school. It also calls for a recreation centre to keep children busy and off the streets, and sniffer dogs.

Liesl Valloo, who for the past five years has tried to fight Eldorado Park’s drug epidemic, wants just one thing now.

“We need a safe house in Eldos where we can take children we have picked up in the lolly lounges (drug dens),” she said.


A few streets away from James’s house, Hazel Herandien said she cried when she read the letter.

“I said over and over ‘this is me’,” she recalled.

Her 23-year-old son stole the geyser from the roof to score tik.

Once, she said, he sneaked into her room while she was sleeping, put his hand in her bra and took the R200 she had hidden there.

Herandien is moving out of Eldorado Park. Her son is in a rehab centre and she doesn’t want him to return to his old life.

She also fears for her safety.

“He will be coming back to a familiar place; his friends are just up the road,” she said.

[email protected]

The Star