A sports day against crime aimed at taking drug addicts away from drugs ended on a sour note on Saturday when a nyaope drug addict was severely beaten in Lethabong outside Rustenburg.
A group of drug addicts went to a local shop after they played a soccer match which they lost 2-1.
When they arrived at the shop one of them reportedly went inside to buy cigarettes, the shopkeeper allegedly called a group of people commonly known by the locals as “Umphakathi” to assist him as he suspected the group would cause trouble at his shop.
On arrival Umphakathi allegedly beat one of the addicts and set his leather jacket alight.
He suffered a bruise on his chin and had a swollen face.
“We spent the day at the sports ground, we did not cause any problems to anyone and now we are being attack,” said the addicts as police officers tried to establish what lead to the incident.
He was eventually taken to a local clinic for medical attention.
An irate group of addicts encouraged him to open a case against umphakathi at the police station.
Spectators who watched the group display their rare soccer skills, were not pleased that umphakathi beat one of the players that had kept them on their feet the whole day, adding that there was no shred of evidence that they were troublesome.
According to Community Police Officer, Constable Dipolelo Moeletsi, the aim of the sport against crime was to take drug addicts out of the streets and to restore the relationships between them and the community.
He said nyaope was widely used in Lethabong and this led to other crimes such as assault and house robberies.
These crime were reportedly committed as drug addicts steal to feed their addiction.
“It was not easy to convince these boys to participate in the fun and the soccer match, they thought it is a ploy to arrest them en mass as they will all be at one a sport field at a time. The event was successful. We intend to have this interaction on monthly basis,” he said.
For Karabo “Basara” Katane, 26, former 200m and 400m sprinter as well as former gang member, the event paved a way for him to change his life.
“I want to quit drugs, I want to rediscover myself. I started using anabolic steroids while I was running. I represented South Africa internationally,” he said.
“One day in 2014, when I returned from international competitions, I was tested for drugs and steroids were found in my system. I was slapped with a two-year ban and because I was used to getting money while I was running for Royal Bafokeng Athletic Club, I was depressed and went into drugs and crime.”
He said he was kicked out of the Marang Sport Academy in Phokeng and his monthly stipend was also stopped.
Katane explained that as a member of the notorious SVK gang, he had caused a lot of pain to many people.
“I was known as Punish in the gang, I robbed, assaulted people and committed house robberies as well as pavement robberies,” Katane said.
He said SVK members were not ashamed of beheading people.
“You have to show that you are brave by stabbing people in a cruel manner or cut off their heads, the motto is kop af [head off],” he said.
“I want to change my life and this event is a good start for me to rediscover myself. I am happy I participated in this event, I am happy for the community to welcome us back and help us to quit drugs.”
He said he was ready to go to a rehabilitation centre to be helped.
“There is no use to force a person to go to rehabilitation because two or three days they will escape and go back to drugs,” said Katane.
“It is not easy to quit because when you crave for nyaope, there are pains in the stomach it is as if the stomach split. It is very painful, but I am ready to endure the pain to come clean.”
-African News Agency (ANA)
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