Ricochet News

Police criticised for herbicide use in Eastern Cape dagga wars

Apr 15, 2015
Police criticised for herbicide use in Eastern Cape dagga wars

Questions have reportedly been raised about the use of toxic herbicides by Eastern Cape police in their war on drugs – particularly on dagga farms in rural areas.

Police have been dusting dagga plantations in some parts of the province with a substance called glyphosate to kill the dagga plants, but there are fears the poison is also affecting other crops.

Glyphosate is reportedly banned in most European countries and parts of South America because of its associated health risks.

“It’s something that shouldn’t be used at all but the fact that its used in this community from the air is actually quite shocking,” independent environmental researcher, Derek Berliner, told EWN.

“The spraying operation has wreaked havoc in local communities; they don’t have any food to eat anymore. People have actually been sprayed from almost a metre above their heads,” dagga legalisation activist, Julian Stubbs, also added.

However, Eastern Cape police previously maintained that the chemicals were safe.

"In this operation, some unknown people have been distributing stickers with messages such as "I love dagga" and pamphlets stating that the methods we are using to destroy the dagga, are unsafe and detrimental to the environment. This is not true. The dosage used is so minimal that it only kills the dagga plant.

"We have found that the natural vegetation surrounding the dagga plants survives the spraying. These people even went as far as inciting people to cause harm to our police officers," read a police statement.