FROM APARTHEID TO AMAPHARA
By: Msizi Mkhize
South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy from apartheid but the citizens no longer celebrate the freedom freely because of drugs and the so-called “Amaphara”.
People from townships wail regularly and blame the freedom that the youth is abusing. Amaphara have now turned the Kwamashu area into an unsafe environment as their addiction makes them resort to stealing to support their habit.
Nkosinathi Phungula, a victim said, “I hate this democracy that the new government brought to this country. Last month when I took my one-year-old kid to the doctor I came back and found my house empty with only two speakers left by the doorsteps with all my clothing and food stolen.”
“Whomever stole here had all the time he needed as they thanked me by inserting stoppers both in the bathroom and kitchen and leaving taps running and destroying the little that was left,” said Phungula .
Some community members have lost faith in the country’s justice system. Instead of crime decreasing due to the availability of resources as compared to the apartheid era, it has increased. “During the 70’s we used to think in these centuries we will be free with no police chasing us for dompass and that dream was turned into reality when Nelson Mandela was released in exile.
The only thing we never had in mind were the responsibilities of being in a democratic country as we are now being chased by our very own kids looking for any valuables you have and if they don’t get what they want, you get stabbed,” Phungula said.
Constable Mncedisi Mthimkhulu said “Drugs are being sold in school premises and by kids under the age of 18 and always get away because of act 75 of 2008 Child justice act which states that children under the age of 18 should be arrested under the custody of a parent or guardian but they continue going to school and sell drugs or use them again.
When it comes to Amaphara there is nothing we can do about those because we arrest them and three months down the line they get medical parole of illnesses and most of them are under the age of 18 so the child act favors them too”.
Mthimkhulu says he thinks democracy plays a huge role in the increase of drug usage and amaphara, because everyone is free now and almost every law protects them. “Before democracy, drugs which were commonly found in streets were dagga and cocaine unlike now, the street kings have freedom to manufacture every drug they want to sell,” said Mthimkhulu.