The DA notes and commends the hard work done by the HAWKS in investigating and initiating arrests in the multi-million rand drug bust in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.

It was reported that seven suspects were arrested on Wednesday in Middelburg for allegedly running a clandestine drug laboratory with equipment and drug worth R210 million.

All seven suspects are expected to appear in the Ermelo Magistrate court today (Thursday), on drug manufacturing related charges.

The major breakthrough comes at a time where the prevalence in the use of drugs like Dagga, Heroine and Nyaope has put a significant increase in the crime, health and the education stats in the province.

Currently Mpumalanga is sitting with the second highest unemployment rate in South Africa. Drug abuse in areas like Middelburg, eMalahleni and Ermelo where crime is at its peak is influenced by the high rate of youth unemployment.

With efforts to combat the scourge of drugs, the DA recently wrote to the National Police Minister, Bheki Cele and the Mpumalanga MEC for safety and Security, Gabisile Shabalala requesting urgent action in establishing a Specialised Narcotics Unit to curb the scourge of drugs in eMalahleni.

Middelburg itself has only one rehabilitation centre that assists substance abusers. One rehabilitation centre does not have the capacity to help the current drug crises. Such facilities are needed in the Province.

The DA commends the police the recent arrest and hopes this will be one of many arrests that will rid this province of drug dealers.

A crime and drug free society will remain our goal and we will continue to support government in fighting the use of drugs in Mpumalanga.

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