Drugs, booze and cigarettes easily accessible in Central

The sale of illicit drugs in the Central area continues to flourish under the national lockdown
STRONG DEMAND: The sale of illicit drugs in the Central area continues to flourish under the national lockdown
Image: GALLO IMAGES/HANNES MUNDEY

Within seconds of arriving in Central, drug dealers, peddling their goods in broad daylight, offer unsuspecting visitors a variety of illicit narcotics while flouting national lockdown regulations.

Hordes of dealers prowl the streets to offer anything from cocaine to Mandrax, dagga and tik.

Besides those usual “fixes”, dealers are now branching out and offering alcohol and cigarettes at varying prices.

Punted by some as Drug Central, Parliament, Robson and Clyde Streets are abuzz with brazen dealers almost flagging down cars to make a sale.

This week a Weekend Post reporter, walking the streets of Central, was approached by at least three people asking if he was “sorted” — street slang for the offer of drugs for sale.

At the corner of Robson and Rose streets, the reporter was approached by an overtly zealous “Tony”.

In response to the question “what do you have” Tony gleefully declared he could organise cocaine at the going price of R400. Anything else can be arranged and charged at prices to be determined when the order is placed.

A quick exchange of numbers, initiated by Tony, and the offer to drive with to the nearest ATM to draw money closed the deal in open view of any and everyone in proximity.

A drug addict, who is not being named to protect her identity, said that since the beginning of the national lockdown on March 27 she had had no issue with getting her drug of choice — methcathinone, commonly referred to as “cat”.

Hooked on the drug for more than a decade, the 33-year old said she visited Central regularly with no concern about being caught.

“If it’s not safe my guy will let me know to meet him somewhere else or to come later,” she said.

“Boredom is a big problem and when you come down from a high and alone with no responsibilities, the temptation takes control.”

Social activist and abuse counsellor John Preller said for any drug addict the levels of frustration would multiply as a result of abusers being stuck at home.

“Addicts are much more under pressure to use and this hinges around frustration.

“The limitations from staying at home and having restricted movement are causing a huge amount of worry and desperation [for users],” Preller said.

He said dealers were cashing in on the situation, knowing that users would do anything to feed their habit.

Police spokesperson Col Sibongile Soci said while Central was a hotspot for dealing in drugs, intelligence-driven and crime prevention operations were held regularly.

Since the start of lockdown, Soci said, more than 30 people had been charged in drug-related cases.

“During the same period, more than 190 people were charged for contravening the lockdown regulations in Central,” she said.

On Thursday a 35-year-old man from Central was arrested as part of a multidisciplinary operation executed by Humewood police.

A search of a premises in Parliament Street uncovered 1,237 Mandrax tablets and 559,24 grams [cat], while a large amount of cash was confiscated, Soci said.

The estimated street value of the drugs is R140,000.

“The SAPS is committed to closing all avenues for drug dealers and syndicates and will continue.

“A clarion call is made to the communities to continue providing tip-offs to the police to make their neighbourhoods safer,” Soci said.

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