The Clean Up Squad, in partnership with Heavens Defense Force, Katekani and Royal Funerals are set to embark on a two-day walk on the 13 and 14 October 2020, in an effort to recruit 40 substance users to volunteer to be rehabilitated.
On the first day, the activists are expected to complete the march from Johannesburg to the Tshwane metro office where they will deliver a memorandum of demands to have a half-way house build in Soshanguve.
The following day the walkers are expected to continue the march from the metro offices to Soshanguve Royal Funerals, in block AA, where they are expected to host a candlelight ceremony and a prayer session. Users are put onto a seven-week detox program to help them with skills development and reintegration into their communities for six months.
Founder of the Clean Up Squad and the walk, Reithutsitse Malala said they realised that they had to change their methods and use programmes that are longer to make sure that the users not only get rehabilitation but also come back and stay sober.
“In previous walks, the organisation was looking for those who want help but now we are seeking to assist those who want to volunteer to get help. In the past, most of the addicts were brought by their parents who forced them to go and they ended up relapsing because they were not ready. We realized that majority of young men who were drug users lacked emotional intelligence and we would like to see them learn that very aspect”, said Malala.
He explained that young men in South Africa have never been taught how to deal with their emotions which was why when they faced challenges they resorted to drugs and gender-based violence. Malala added that the pandemic has been hard on everyone and they also noticed an increase in the number of substance abusers who started using drugs during the lockdown.
Royal Funerals Business Development Manager, Lemmy Mnguni said they were concerned with the level of substance abusers, increasing the numbers of HIV/Aids and drug-related deaths. He added that they joined the walk because they recognised the need to rehabilitate users and build a halfway house in the township.
“The real problem is that we have scores of users in Tshwane, and we only have one half-way house. A seven-week rehab program is not enough, we need a more sustainable solution.It is difficult to expect someone who has smoked for years to sober up after two months which is why we need a more radical and meaningful approach to eradicate drug abuse,” said Mnguni.
Drug users interested in volunteering for the programme and donors can call to call 084 984 9045 or visit the Clean Up Squad Facebook page.