WATCH: Bergville’s previously illegal dagga industry gets formalised, market set up for farmers

Published Nov 1, 2022


Video by Sihle Mavuso

Durban - The multi-million rand Bergville dagga industry in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is set for a major boost after the issuing of licenses to people to sell it to the formal market for processing it for medicinal purposes.

Some of the dagga from the local farmers will be exported to overseas markets like the US.

This was revealed over the weekend by the mayor of Okhahlamba (Bergville) local municipality, Vikizitha Mlotshwa, while he launching their entertainment plan for the upcoming festive season.

The Bergville area is notoriously known for its dagga trade which until the Constitutional Court in 2018 decriminalised the use of weed for personal use, was an underground activity.

Following that landmark ruling, Mlotshwa said they applied to the department of health to grant them a licence to have their dagga planted and sold within the framework of the law.

According to the mayor, the cumbersome process has yielded some positive results as they have now obtained licences.

He said according to what they have now, all four traditional leaders (amakhosi) under their jurisdiction have been granted a licence to collect dagga from people and send it to a factory located near the town of Winterton.

However, he stressed that it would not be a free for all as licences would be issued after getting a police clearance.

“To be able to plant and take the dagga to the inkosi you have to be licenced. That licence would be given to one after a vigorous process which then leads to one being cleared by the police.

“It would be the Inkosi who would send the dagga to the factory for weighing. The people would be paid later through banks,” Mlotshwa said.

The licenced factory would use the dagga to produce medication and sell the rest to other parts of the world where the dagga is sold in an open market.

Mlotshwa said the latest developments bring a huge sigh of relief as dagga farming in the area dates back to the pre-colonial age.

It was only stopped in the 1950s when several dagga farmers in the area were taken to Pretoria where they were tried for farming it without permission.

[email protected]

Current Affairs