Drugs worth R800 million destroyed


The South African Police Service (SAPS) destroyed drugs worth R800 million this week. The drugs, which include cocaine, heroin, Mandrax tablets and marijuana, were seized during several raids.

Brig. Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe says this is the third time in the current financial year that drugs have been destroyed.

“In September, 1.7 tons of drugs worth R170 million were destroyed in Cape Town.”

In the 2022-23 financial year, 28 tonnes of drugs were destroyed. These drugs had a street value of a total of R2 billion.

Mathe says the drugs that were destroyed on Thursday are connected to a number of high-profile cases. In one of these cases, the police seized more than one ton of cocaine worth R400 million.

“The drugs were seized in August last year when Ebrahim Kara, Elias Radebe and Meshack Ngobese were arrested in Cape Town,” she says.

“The three were caught in a truck that was transporting more than 600 blocks of cocaine. The drugs were hidden in a fake wooden compartment.”

Mathe says the case has already been settled, therefore these drugs could now be destroyed.

All drugs seized by the police are routinely sent for forensic testing. The drugs that were destroyed on Thursday were also subjected to the tests again “after a thorough process that confirms the finalization of cases”.

“All the drugs that were destroyed were also audited to ensure compliance with the set standard.”

Progress made

General Fannie Masemola, national police commissioner, says it is encouraging to see that the police are fighting drug trafficking in the country.

“Since the start of operation Shanela, 15,400 suspects have been arrested for drug possession. Another 7,000 were arrested for alleged drug trafficking.”

Masemola says the latest incident where drugs worth R150 million were seized in KwaZulu-Natal also illustrates the cooperation between law enforcement agencies around the world to combat transnational organized crime.

“Our intelligence structures are working hard to stop drug trafficking in the country. It is also clear evidence that those involved in border security are working together to tighten controls on cargo entering and leaving our country.”