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Unisa online - Dealing with the global drug trade

Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya

Speaking in the spirit of the College of Human Sciences’ Africa Speaks lecture series, South African born scholar, Prof Boatamo Mosupyoe delivered a thought-provoking and engaging lecture entitled Mediation of Patriarchy and Sexism by Women in South Africa.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), southern Africa, delivered the 2012 World Drug report on 28 June 2012, with special emphasis on the African continent. The findings revealed that around 230 million people, or 5% of the world’s adult population, are estimated to have used an illicit drug at least once in 2010, with problem drug users projected at 27 million individuals. Click here to read the full report.

Unisa has hosted the launch of the annual report since 2008, having entered into a memorandum of understanding with the UNODC. This has ensured greater cooperation and information exchange in the areas of research on criminal justice issues, organised crime, corruption, trafficking, terrorism and money laundering. Dr Joseph Diescho, Director and Head, International Relations and Partnerships said the affiliation is a crucial one. “This is a mutual relationship and working with the UN is critical to advancing Africa.”

Some of the other findings in the report mention that while the illicit drug trade appears to be stable, it continues to rise in developing nations. Heroin, cocaine and other drugs kill around 0.2 million people each year and spread diseases like HIV. Positive developments include the slowing down of global opium production, coca bush cultivation and greater efforts by member nations. Prof Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, is optimistic that with hard work, the 2015 Millennium Development Goals of reducing drug abuse, can be a reality. “We must all commit in a meaningful way to fight against drug trafficking and Unisa will remain dedicated supporters of the UN Drug Office.”

Mandiaye Niang (Region Representative, UNODC southern Africa), says drug prevalence is on the increase in southern Africa

Dr David Bayever (Deputy Chairperson: Central Drug Authority), pointed out that government is serious about addressing the drug trade, especially in poor communities

Mandiaye Niang, Region Representative, UNODC southern Africa, thanked Unisa for pledging to help in the fight against the global drug trade. “This is a sign of the unwavering support from academics to fight the scourge of drugs.” He revealed that heroin, cocaine amphetamines and cannabis are being increasingly used in Africa and southern Africa and lamented the fact that only seven out of the 54 states on the continent provided information to the UNODC. Discussing health matters, he said that drugs remain one of the primary causes of death alongside alcohol and tobacco. However, he divulged that plans are afoot to change that situation. “We are hoping for a political endorsement from the southern African Development Community to move this agenda forward and continue our crackdown of the drug trade.”

In support of the UNODC’s programme, Dr David Bayever, Deputy Chairperson, Central Drug Authority (CDA), delivered a presentation outlining the activities of the CDA. This included the role of the Central Drug Master Plan and the number of confiscations and arrests that have been made as a result of heightened awareness among communities. Click here to read Dr Bayever’s full presentation.

From left: Dr Joseph Diescho (Director and Head: International Relations and Partnerships), Prof Mandla Makhanya (Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor), Mandiaye Niang (Region Representative: UNODC southern Africa) and Dr David Bayever (Deputy Chairperson: Central Drug Authority)

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