Humphrey Bogart, a tough guy in real life and movie roles, once said with the insight of a prophet; “Things are never so bad they can’t be made worse” – How true!
Some South Africans are desperately grabbing at “too good to be true” opportunities to make “easy” money that promises relief from their debts. These vulnerable individuals are being recruited by organised crime syndicates to risk their lives and liberty by smuggling drugs and other illegal goods across international borders
There are now 1062 South Africans – 702 men and 360 women – in jail in 59 foreign countries.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says the number reflects known cases where citizens exercised their right to request consular assistance in terms of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. In all probability there are a lot more who have not requested consular assistance and languish in foreign prisons.
In answer to a question by Democratic Alliance shadow international relations minister Kenneth Mabu, the department said 691 of these prisoners – some 65% – were being detained for drug related offences.
The largest number was Brazil (177), where all but three were incarcerated for drugs offences. Next is the United Kingdom with 109, but just 40 of them were caught with narcotics. It is not clear what crimes the rest are connected with.
Sixty-six South Africans are imprisoned in Botswana, but only one for drugs, while 64 of the 66 held in Peru are there for narcotics.
Lesotho holds 53 South Africans (just two for drugs), Australia 56 (20 for narcotics), Argentina 47 (just two not for drugs), Pakistan 42 (one not for narcotics) and Venezuela 41 (two not for drugs).
South Africa is the largest market and destination for illegal drugs entering Southern Africa. Drug trafficking and abuse have sky rocketed over the past few years, sadly this almost vertical trajectory can be traced back to our finest moment, the first democratic elections held in 1994.
Our finest moment witnessed naive and misplaced trust by the Government of the day in not understanding worldly agendas of self interests by organised crime; South Africa’s Government relaxed the strict controls of Land, Air and Sea border controls by SAPS, Immigration, customs and revenue services.
The Government believed they were enhancing the international trade of legal business, commerce and facilitating the influx of cultural exchanges and trends with our fellow African neighbours.
Instead we opened our doors to International Organised Crime linked to many other criminal syndicates and operations ranging from Robberies, Car jacking, illegal Weapons and Firearm trafficking, Stolen cars, Environmental theft i.e. Rhino Horns, Perlemoen, Precious metals, Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Drug trafficking.
These criminal networks are mostly organised by West African, predominantly Nigerian criminal groups that have infiltrated our society through various means that include marrying South African women to obtain residency, these criminal groups have integrated networks linking drug producing countries of Latin America (Cocaine), Afghanistan and Asia (Heroine) with the traditional Cocaine and Heroine consuming markets of Western Europe and North America.
Cannabis is also used as a bartering means between the syndicates, not only as a means of payment but a sophisticated means of hedging the price of imported drugs that become too expensive because the of the Rand’s declining value internationally.
- South Africa is a main route and destination for drug trafficking.
- There are regular reports of South African’s in foreign prisons for drug smuggling.
- The recent arrest and execution of drug smuggler, Janice Linden in China is a chilling reality of the zero tolerance practiced in China, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines.
- A few weeks ago we read in the Weekend Post, “Not the first time for East Cape’s dreadlocked drug mule” a Grahamstown resident who reportedly was paid R20 000.00 to smuggle drugs in Thailand.
“Things are never so bad they can’t be made worse”
This is exactly true, becoming a self fulfilling prophesy in the case of Janice Linden and the “dreadlocked drug Mule” they found this out the hard way.
South Africa is experiencing and will continue to slowly succumb to this truism because our Government have disbanded the South African Narcotics Bureau (SANAB). If SANAB were still operational it would have been able to interact with INTERPOL and travel to these prisons interview the “Mules” and obtain and share with INTERPOL vital intelligence that would surely lead to arrests and convictions that would close down some of these operations that threaten to destroy our future. Instead this opportunity is lost at our peril!
Support the petition to reinstate SANAB
Sign the Petition to Bring the South African Narcotics Bureau (SANAB) Back
Support petitions to stop the killing of our Rhino
We as a Nation should put severe pressure on the Government to stop trading with China who are behind the demand for the Rhino Horn as a medicinal relief and aphrodisiac.
The South African Government must be vigorously encouraged to assert our demand to China to put a stop to killing our Rhino’s if not our Government will be directly responsible through their complicit silence that will lead to the extinction of the Rhino by 2015.