Nyaope business flourishing in Soweto hostel
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Johannesburg – Residents of Jabulani in Soweto say that the nyaope problem in their area is out of hand and they live in constant fear of being burgled by addicts.
Nyaope, also known as whoonga, is a local street drug that is highly addictive and destructive. It comes in the form of powder and is usually combined with dagga (cannabis) and smoked.
Jabulani hostel resident Ntbizodwa Mthombeni, 45, said she has seen an increase in nyaope-related activity around her.
"Since nyaope first caught on, we have seen a lot of boys hanging around here. From about age 15 and up, most of them are addicted and they end up here in this old hostel building. There is a man selling here, and it seems like his business is growing day by day," she said.
"The worst challenge we are facing as a community is the loss of our household possessions like our two-plate stoves and irons and kettles. It is hard to trace the theft because it happens when you are not at home. But then you see people gathering at a house where the stuff is bought."
Thoko Njoko, 39, said: "It seems as if people that want to do illegal business actually come to reside here in the hostel because they know that no one will bother them. Even us who are victims, we are scared to report what is happening to the police as we fear for our lives.
"But the groups of nyaope boys are growing, and the nyaope business is increasing. It's true that we are losing all our household goods, but it becomes difficult to say it is the nyaope boys because we know there is a lot of corruption also taking place here."
Local ward councilor Shimane Motlhamme said he was aware of the nyaope dealing happening at the Jabulani hostel, but said it was difficult to combat and impossible to control.
"It is true that in the hostel there are many boys that are using nyaope, and there are people that are selling. But the challenge is that when we try to trace or call the police, we find that the dealers are not hostel residents and are not known in the area. They are just using the hostel to do their dirty work," Motlhamme said.
He explained that there were plans in place to demolish the old hostel buildings and replace them with newly built flats. It was hoped that this would help address the nyaope problem.