Mathuo Rakometsi founded an NGO called Families against Substance Abuse (FASA) to fight the scourge of drug addiction in South African townships.
This follows the family’s inability to find help for their teenager (20) who has struggled with drug addiction for three years.
According to Rakometsi, who is also an older sister of the 20-year-old, the drugs are a time bomb and they are destroying many families in the townships and in the country in general.
Rakometsi explained that his brother started experimenting with hubbly bubbly around the age of 13, and over time he discovered cigarettes and dagga.
“I think it was in 2019 when he started experimenting with hard drugs like crystal meth,” Rakometsi said.
She said that the past year has been very intense. He had access to money, which gave him free access to the drugs he was abusing.
“This year there have been incidents of assault, physical altercation, verbal and emotional abuse for myself and my mother,” she said.
She explained that she had come to a point where she had to open a case against him.
“There was an incident at home that caused me to get a protection order against him. It happened in the morning. He woke me up and accused me of stealing his drugs and his money. I decided to involve the police.
“In March, I got an interim protection order. He broke that court order, I think, four times, ”she said.
She said they are currently facing criminal proceedings for contravening a court order, but the process is slow.
The objective of FASA
The organization was formed after the family had many interactions with various departments they needed help with, such as the Department of Justice, Social Development and Health as well as the SAPS and rehabilitation centers.
It focuses on supporting affected families, advocating for change in laws and policies to respond to the current social landscape and prevention of predisposed young people.
Rakometsi said three departments need to work together and also include affected families so that they can help them craft laws that will help people, as the drug addiction problem affects them all.
“The families are fired and in the end there is no solution because the department can only function within the limits of their policies and the law,” she added.
She said that a first course of action is for a person to admit that they have a problem.
“They would then go to a medical center and submit a medical test to go to rehab. “
The second course of action is unintentional, whereby a family member would write a statement about how drug abuse affects the abuser’s well-being.
“I wrote that kind of statement. It was eight pages long and our social worker also wrote a report. Things got stuck because the prosecutor said my statement was vague and the second time he said he didn’t see how drugs were linked to violence, ”Rakometsi said.
She said another problem is that they don’t know the legal jargon.
“I think there should be some education on their part to help us understand how to write statements in a way that makes sense to them, I think it’s very important,” he said. she declared.
A way forward
FASA has launched an online petition to call on Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, the Department of Social Development, SAPS, SANCA, and drug rehab centers to work together on changing drug and addiction laws.
She says there has to be a bigger response to the current social landscape.
Rakometsi said the petition will be a crucial first step in changing laws and securing urgent help for drug addicts whose drug addiction negatively affects the well-being and well-being of those living with them.
He currently has 28 signatures. FASA calls on the public to visit website sign and contribute to the fight against drugs.
“I do this because I know 11 other families struggling with a child addicted to drugs. I’m sick of complaining, it’s time for us to stand together as concerned members and guide our government institutions on how to help us.
“Not only for peace in our homes, but even for helping the aggressor, because our townships are sitting on a time bomb on the issue of drug addiction,” she concluded.