Desperate mom’s plea to magistrate after learning of drug deals in PE hospital
A MOTHER desperate to save her drug-addicted daughter who is in custody in Port Elizabeth facing drug charges, has pleaded with the court to keep her behind bars until she can be sent for rehabilitation.
Bloemfontein mom Martha Dean would rather see her daughter, Bonita, 24 – who has relapsed twice during an eightyear drug addiction – sit in jail than run the risk of her being released and getting her hands on drugs again.
This comes amid a shocking disclosure by Dean that Bonita was supplied with drugs by dealers and other addicts when she was admitted to hospital recently for a drug-related ailment.
Dean, 62, said a dealer had even had the gall to approach her for payment for the drugs.
Yesterday, Bonita appeared in court on criminal drug-related charges, as well as in a civil case – an application brought by her mother for a court order forcing her into rehabilitation.
“I am afraid that if my daughter is released on bail she will return to the streets and I will never see her again,” an emotional Dean said outside the court building yesterday.
“If she does not receive treatment she will die soon, I just know it.”
She was holding a poster reading: “Mr Magistrate, please don’t ‘free’ my daughter to die on the streets.”
According to Dean, her daughter had started using drugs at the age of 16 and had since become addicted to various drugs, including heroin.
She had allegedly stolen from their home and had even sold her late father’s firearms to feed her addiction.
Bonita was admitted to the Noupoort Christian Care Centre twice for rehabilitation, but relapsed on both occasions.
About three months ago, she left Bloemfontein for Port Elizabeth, contacting her mother from time to time.
The last time Bonita contacted her was when she ended up in St George’s Hospital early last month after being injected with the drug “krokodil”, which caused pieces of skin on her arms and legs to rot away.
The frantic mother travelled to Port Elizabeth immediately and has stayed by her daughter’s side ever since.
Dean said while Bonita was being treated in hospital, she was visited by other addicts and drug dealers who supplied her with heroin in the ward.
“I only found out about her receiving drugs in hospital when her dealer phoned me one day, claiming that I owed him R870 for the drugs they had been supplying to my daughter.
“Since then, I have stayed by her bedside day and night.”
St George’s Hospital spokeswoman Natalie Henman said she could not confirm any of the details until today when she could obtain permission from head office.
As Bonita left the hospital last week, she was handed a summons for the civil case to have her booked into a rehabilitation centre and rearrested on a charge of possession of drugs, for which she had received bail but then failed to appear in court.
She also has pending cases against her – one of assault in Noupoort and a theft charge in Bloemfontein – for which she also failed to appear in court.
When Bonita appeared in the magistrate’s court yesterday on a charge of possession of drugs, the case was postponed to next Tuesday for a formal bail application.
The state intends to oppose bail due to the pending cases and her failure to appear in court, as well as her lack of a fixed address.
Her legal team, Advocate Brent Harker, instructed by attorney John Coetzee, said Bonita’s failure to appear in court was due to her treatment in hospital.
But prosecutor Tim van Rooyen said the state would dispute the timeline of her treatment to show that it did not interfere with her ability to appear in court. Shortly after magistrate Thembakazi Kakangu postponed the criminal matter to next Tuesday, magistrate Gavin Juicy, who is presiding over the civil case, postponed that matter to the same date.
Social worker Stephen Davids, who works closely with rehabilitation centres like Sanca and Noupoort, said Bonita’s case was “life and death” at this stage, and they needed to keep her off the streets as long as possible.
“To have Bonita in custody, pending her bail application, is far from ideal, but it is the best possible place for her right now,” he said.
“With her behind bars, we at least know she is safe. If she is released and returns to the streets, we may never see her again.
“At this stage, prison is a step in the right direction.”
Davids said that after consulting Dean and looking into Bonita’s history, he believed she was the perfect candidate for long-term treatment in a facility like Noupoort for at least six months.
“This is why a court order is crucial. She needs to be removed from her circumstances for a prolonged period. It is her only hope,” he said.
A Port Elizabeth businessman who has been assisting Bonita and did not want to be named, said he had been keeping an eye on the alleged “crack house” in Western Road where Bonita was staying, looking for a way to close it down and rid the Central area of drugs.
He said he happened to be in the area one day when Bonita caught his eye and he tried to help her, giving her money, and eventually footing the bill for her hospital treatment.
“This poor girl needs help. She needs to be kept away from that place where she stayed.
“I went there one day looking for her, and I am sure the conditions in prison might even be better,” he said.