SAPS destroy drugs worth R800 million in Gauteng operation

The South African Police Service (SAPS) have destroyed drugs worth R800 million during policing operations in Johannesburg, on Thursday.


National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Fannie Masemola presided over the destruction of drugs, which included cocaine, heroin, mandrax and marijuana.

National police spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, said this is the third drug destruction process in this financial year, with the most recent destruction having taken place in Cape Town in September.

“In the 2022/2023 financial year, 20.8 of tons of drugs with a street value of 2 billion rand was also destroyed,” Mathe said.

Mathe noted that the drugs destroyed were linked to a number of high-profile cases, including the Maydon Wharf case where more than one tonne of cocaine worth a street value of R400 million was seized.

“This drug bust happened in August 2022 when Ebrahim Kara, Elias Radebe and Meshack Ngobese were arrested in Cape Town after a truck transporting more than 600 blocks of cocaine was stopped by police and the drugs were discovered hidden in false wooden boards.

“This matter was finalised and Kara was handed down an eight-year sentence while Radebe and Ngobese were handed down one year and six years imprisonment sentences respectively,” Mathe said.

She added that 1.3 tons in which illegal pharmaceuticals drugs/medicines in the form of tablets and capsules, including non-registered Viagra, were confiscated in operations throughout the country.

Mathe also noted that all drugs confiscated by SAPS during operations are subjected to forensic testing on a regular basis by the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory: Chemistry Section.

“These drug exhibit materials that were destroyed today were done so after a thorough process which followed the conclusion of a court order, confirming the finalisation of cases. It is also worth noting that all drugs exhibit materials that were destructed were audited to ensure compliance to the set standard,” Mathe explained.

Masemola said through the organisation’s high-density operations, police are making inroads in clamping down on the drug trade in the country and beyond.

He said it is also encouraging that through Operation Shanela, 15 400 suspects were arrested by police officers for being in possession of drugs to date, with another 7 000 arrested for dealing in drugs.

“The recent drug confiscation of R150 million of cocaine in KwaZulu-Natal also illustrates the cooperation between law enforcement agencies across the world in clamping down on transnational organised crime. Indeed, our intelligence structures are hard at work in preventing and putting a stop to the drug trade in the country and beyond.

“This is also a clear demonstration that all stakeholders involved in border security are working together to tighten the control measures of cargo entering and departing our country,” said the Commissioner.