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Students visit city jail

Richard Mpeqa

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On Thursday some pupils from Blue Hills College of Midrand visited the Johannesburg Prison, and met officials and the inmates.

Media Liaison Officer for Community Safety Thapelo Moiloa said the programme was initiated six years ago to prevent youths from committing crime, and changing their attitudes for the better.  “They need to know how prison life is like, and this programme acts as a deterrent to bad behaviour. It is the problematic schools mostly that are being targeted, and so far responses from the educators after the tours are positive, therefore it is necessary for the programme to continue.

A Blue Hills learner called Thabang said: “I don’t want to see myself in this place. This has been an experience I will never forget.” 

The pupils met with the inmates, and they were briefed on various things about life, such as taking care of themselves, and to be careful when choosing friends, staying away from drugs and respect for other people. The Blue Hills college educators said they will bring all their learners to the facility, to help them avoid activities that may get them into prison.

 

 

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Drugs Committee to curb Abuse

An organisation to fight drug abuse in Hillbrow and surrounding areas has been formed. The group, called the Hillbrow Drugs Action Committee is a brainchild of SANCA Phoenix House and Lutheran Community Outreach Foundation.

The organisation is set to focus on training, advocacy and awareness campaigns.  It will include various stakeholders like schools, NGOs, property companies, SAPS and members of society.

SANCA’s director Adrie Vermeulen says the committee will operate within the framework of the national drugs strategy. “Substance abuse has been a problematic issue for many years in Hillbrow.  It has a direct link to many other crimes, it is therefore essential to stimulate the fight against it.  The committee will focus on creating awareness campaigns all over Hillbrow through door to door visits in flats.  Counsellors will explain to people the dangers of drugs and how to get help. There is a diversion programme for people addicted to drugs, the first project of this kind. It will go all the way to change the substance abuse stigma,” explains Vermeulen.

 

Makhulong A Matala, a subsidiary of Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) supports the objectives of the committee. Says subsidiary community development officer Sifiso Ginindza: “We fully support the committee and are willing to be part of it.  The reduction of substance abuse in Hillbrow augurs well with us as a housing company.  If the tenant has drug addiction problems, through this collaboration the tenant can be referred to rehabilitation programmes.”

 

Johan Robyn, counsellor at the Lutheran Foundation adds that 26 counsellors will be trained to do assessment, counselling, drugs tests and rehab referrals. “This committee must focus on training, advocacy and awareness campaigns. We urge the broader community to get involved.”

 

Michelle Peter, executive manager for residential care, education, and skills development for MES, an NGO based in Hillbrow, adds that the committee will have an impact in the fight against substance abuse.  “Through cooperation, we can fight substance abuse,” she adds.

 

Hillbrow police spokesperson Sgt Jenny Pillay says the station supports the committee. “We support all crime prevention initiatives and we are excited to be part of this initiative.  It is important to create awareness about drug abuse through a coordinated effort.” 

For substance abuse problems contact Alcoholics Anonymous SA on 011 436-0116 or SANCA 011 482-7187.

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Joe Slovo Rd thugs arrested

Last week Hillbrow police arrested two men who allegedly mugged a journalist in Joe Slovo Road, Berea.

The journo, Yusuf Omar of The Star newspaper was robbed in a smash-and-grab incident in Berea last Saturday.

That was a time when hundreds of people were flocking to watch the rugby match between the Springboks and England.

Omar said he had parked his car in Joe Slovo Road near the corner of Abel Road. “Two smiling men crossed the road in front of the car, and suddenly one of them smashed the driver’s side window. One of them held my throat as the other shouted that he wanted my phone and money, and searched my pockets.”

Moments later the men ran into the darkness in separate directions, chased by two police officers, Cst Sibusiso Mhlungu and Cst Julius Nyandeni, while Cst Acceptance Nyakale asked if he was okay.

A short while later the police returned with the suspects and two cellphones that had been recovered.  The men have appeared at the Hillbrow Magistrate court on a charge of robbery.

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