LEPHALALE — Early in May this year reports emerged in mainstream media about Nyaope addicts who allegedly resorted to a bizarre method of stealing cremated ashes of the dead from a cemetery so that they can smoke them to get high.
According to Wikipedia, Nyaope is a street drug that has come into widespread use in South Africa since 2010. Also known as Whoonga, Nyaope is made of a cocktail of dagga, heroin, Anti-retro-viral drugs, rat poison and sometimes acid.
This story, summed up with many others like addicts exchanging blood so that they can get high are shocking to say the least.
Recently Mogol Post got tipped off about a family in Sefitlhogo that allegedly plants dagga, and uses this to mix it with other substances to create Nyaope. According to informants, the family is well known in the area for dealing in this business and because of their connections no one bothers to report them.
* Lerato says she grew up in the presence of the family planting dagga on their farm and selling it at their home. She says one police officer often visits the dagga selling family and he is fully aware of what transpires there. The two families that are houses apart are alleged to have been selling dagga in the area for a number of years and community members are worried that because one of them is related to a police officer, if they report the matter their identity will be known.
“There are boys who are the families’ usual clients. After buying dagga they mix it with another substance unfamiliar to us.
When they get high they usually become troublesome – especially at school” said Lerato.
Incidentally, on last Thursday, during the memorial service of the deceased learner from a truck accident on the N11, there were complaints about a number of male students who were misbehaving and becoming troublesome at Motlhatjwa High School once they get high.
From the conversations it became evident that the substance is wrecking people’s lives and happiness.
Lerato said a few years ago the woman who deals with dagga business was tricked of R5 000 after some guys brought regular grass in plastic bags and pretended it was dagga. It was only at a later stage that she realised she was tricked and because of the nature of the business the matter was not reported to the police, however neighbours got to know about it.
Tom Burke Police Station Commander Colonel Lesiba Mabote advises the community to interact directly with him in case they feel scared to report incidents. He says there is an intelligence team which works with cases related to drugs and such information will assist them in tracking down those dealing in such businesses.
In addition Mabote said: “if the information from community results in suspects being arrested and prosecuted the informants can be rewarded.”
In Marapong the Nyaope story gets very disturbing and scary.
* Nthabiseng told Mogol Post that sometime in 2016, students from Phegelelo High School went on a trip outside Lephalale where three male students allegedly used Nyaope before damaging the roof of the lodge they were sleeping in. They reportedly stole phones and other items belonging to their fellow schoolmates.
She says when police were called they found Nyaope as well as a number of syringes in their pockets and after scrutiny from the police, one of the boys confessed to have hidden the cell phones on the roof at the lodge. The students, who apparently told the police where they got the white powder mixed with dagga have since been expelled from the school.
They also said the seller of their substance is trading near Marapong Complex.
Nthabiseng says they alerted police about this information and they are uncertain if there were any arrest.
“This year there was been a similar incident in May where male students were allegedly in possession of Nyaope and condoms in their school bags. These learners are suspected of selling the substance to their schoolmates” said Nthabiseng, emphasising that the learners have since been suspended.
The alleged Nyaope problems in Marapong also involve known people who seemingly sell sweets and snacks as a cover up for their drug trade that is increasing at a worrying rate.
Nthabiseng says known Nyaope suspects have been reported numerously, arrested and released.
Some of the worst incidents include primary school learners who are already into Nyaope and a number of young girls who think using Nyaope will help them lose weight.
Nthabiseng says they do Nyaope in groups and her biggest worry is that the teenagers’ desperate need for Nyaope pushes them to participate in criminal activities.
Lephalale SAPS Spokesperson Warrant Officer Frans Mokoena says there have been a number of drug arrests in Lephalale, with dagga dominating with drugs and Nyaope as third problematic factor.
Mokoena appealed to the community to always address criminal activities to police as soon as they see them. “I humbly ask that the Media works with the police to deal with this matter accordingly. Anyone who has information must give it to a specific person at SAPS so that they know with whom they shared it. This will help conceal information and for informants to know that they dealt on the matter with a specific person (police officer). This helps, for example when information leaks, the informant can point out to the official they reported the matter to instead of sharing it to everyone” Mokoena said.
He emphasized that the police want to completely eliminate Nyaope in the society.
*Pseudonyms were used to protect the identity of the informants.