Police Minister Bheki Cele has called for heightened cooperation from international law enforcement agencies when it comes to sharing resources and information in the war against drugs.
The Minister made the impassioned plea during his address at the Interpol 2nd Global Drugs and Illicit Substances Conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Over 400 delegates from 194 member countries, international organisations, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African government departments are attending the conference.
Citing as unfortunate and regrettable the recent attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa, Cele said, however, the issue of drugs and illicit activities needs to be singled out and dealt with decisively.
“Interpol must take a lead in that space and ensure that all Interpol member countries are protected from drug smuggling – no matter who is involved, be it locals or nationals from other countries. Crime knows no nationality – crime is crime,” he said.
The Minister described drugs as a menace to society, destroying economically viable youth.
“Drugs are the biggest contributor to violent crimes. Drugs are a modern day world-engulfing flood, hence this gathering hosted on African soil is crucial in developing world standard solutions, under the banner of the umbrella theme, ‘Pushing new frontiers for effective global drug enforcement’,” he said.
Communities, Cele said, are at the grip of those who use, sell and produce drugs.
“Drug abuse is wiping away the moral and social fibre of our society each day. Drug abuse is cutting the lives of our youth short and stagnating their contribution to the economy. Our communities have had enough, the whole world has reached the climax point of ‘enough is enough’.
“We, as the South African Police Service and all its specialised units, are raising our hand to work in collaboration with our global counterparts. I call on international cooperation by all Interpol member countries to share resources and information for a more proactive approach in the war against drugs.”
Cele said the vulnerability of South Africa to illicit drugs remains a grave concern.
“The increasing number of foreign drugs seized within our shores and at our ports of entry clearly shows that the country’s role is that of a consumer market and also a pathway for national, regional and international trafficking networks.”
The illegal flow of narcotics brings with it other forms of organised crime that undermines the stability and security of the country.