Mansion land now drug den

19 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Mansion land now drug den Drugs- Image taken from Shutterstock

The Sunday News

Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
AN area in Selborne Park that the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) designated as ideal for building the mayoral mansion has allegedly become a hive of drug activity, leading to disgruntlement among residents in the area after it was taken over by a mysterious figure who has allegedly converted it into a drug den.

Last year, BCC resolved to build the city’s mayor a house in Selborne Park subject to the availability of funds. The local authority had abandoned its original idea of renovating a house at the exclusive Hornung Golf Club in Burnside into a mayoral mansion, noting that works required would be slightly less than what was required to construct a new mayoral mansion.

Hornung Golf Club

However, since the outcry from residents, interest in the project has seemingly cooled, and with the would-be mayoral mansion turning into a “forest”, a drug dealer has allegedly taken up residence on a piece of prime real estate earmarked for the city’s number one citizen.

Residents in the leafy suburb claim that the suspected drug dealer, seemingly came out of the blue and set up a vending stall in the area. What first looked like an innocent venture has instead kick-started wave of drug abuse and criminal behaviour in the area, with students from the nearby National University of Science and Technology (Nust), falling for the dealer’s narcotic charms.

“No one knows where he came from. He just appeared one day and cleared the bush in the area and started his vending stall.

Vendors are quite common in suburbs around Bulawayo so no one took any notice of it. However, as time went on, it became clear that he was someone targeting students from Nust because most of them reside in this area. Mostly he sells alcohol and drugs to them,” a resident who spoke to Sunday Life anonymously said.

BCC Corporate Communications Manager confirmed that the city had received complaints from residents and was making efforts to remedy the situation.

NUST

“The City of Bulawayo has received complaints from the residents. The City of Bulawayo is currently making efforts to protect the area and efforts are being made to attend to the challenges,” she said.

Drug addiction has become a problem in Bulawayo, especially among youth, as more and more young people succumb to the lure of hard drugs and illicit alcohol. Crystal meth, crack cocaine and ecstasy are becoming readily available to youths looking for a high.

According to Ingutsheni Clinical Director Dr Welling Ranga, as many as 250 youths are checked into Ingutsheni for drug addiction. Last month, a 21-year-old man from Sizinda died after a drug overdose.

“This issue of drug abuse is problematic and really it is the role of the community to bring an end to this. So far, we see about 250 patients a month who are addicts, some we treat and some we admit but a majority of them always relapse,” Dr Ranga told our sister paper Chronicle.

“We may lose the battle as these drugs which start with alcohol as an entry point are accessible. As long as people continue to drink alcohol, people will always find their way to abuse drugs.”

Dr Wellington Ranga

According to the Selborne Park resident that spoke to Sunday Life, after settling in the area, the suspected dealer had cleared a path leading from the vending stall into bushy area, deep into what had been designated as the place of residence for the city’s number one citizen. It is there that the bulk of the drugs and alcohol he trades in are consumed.

“On the face of it, he seems to be a vendor but if you look closely, you’ll realise he is hardly selling anything of note. On a good day you will find maybe two tomatoes or two packets of chips on his stall but on some days, there won’t be a single thing for sale. Yet, you will find a lot of guys milling around the place. It never makes sense,” the resident said.

Where there are drugs, crime usually follows and residents in the suburb claim that they had witnessed a suspiciously high number of break-ins since the suspected dealer came to set up shop in the neighbourhood. In fact, so bad has the situation that they have now decided to employ a security company to protect them, as the defiant man told one resident that he was above the law when confronted recently.

“Recently we have been having a rough time with break-ins in the area and we have now opened groups just to deliberate on the solution for this because we have a stronger belief that thieves are also being harboured at that place. Such has been the concern of residents that they went to him and asked why he had chosen that place of all places to set up shop and he said that he is also trying to make a living.

“Another disgruntled resident went to him recently and he brushed it off and said even some police buy from him and he is therefore untouchable. It seems like the story is deeper than we initially thought. We have now decided to employ a security company to guard us because we don’t feel secure. Most of us has never entered deep into the path but we had to because the security company wanted to see the area and when we got there, bottles and all kinds of drug paraphernalia were littered everywhere. It’s a bushy, mountainous area so you wonder what they would be doing in there,” the resident said.

Recently, during a residents’ meeting, some had suggested that they should go and confront the man collectively.

However, while tempers ran high, others cautioned that female-headed homes would be vulnerable to retaliation if the situation degenerated into violent chaos.

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