After our 5th request for a copy of the #DaggaOps Environment Impact Assessment from the South African Police Service failed we decided it’s time for more drastic legal measures.
In February 2015 a Facebook post of a picture of three Dagga Ops helicopters used in the spraying of dagga crops in the Transkei with glyphosate went viral we felt obligated to ask the South African Police Service a few questions.
The response we received on the 17th of February 2015 from SAPS spokesperson Solomon Makgale:
Good afternoon editor of Dagga Magazine,
Apologies for the delayed response. Your media enquiry on the subject matter dated 2 February 2015 refers.
Kindly receive the response to your enquiry as follows
Question 1: Was an environmental impact study conducted on the harms to the ecosystem and people by routine dagga crops spraying by helicopters?
ANSWER: Yes. A study was conducted in conjunction with SANAB, a file of the study can be made available if required.
Question 2: What chemicals are used by the SAPS Air Wing Dagga Ops to spray dagga crops?
ANSWER: The SAPS Air Wing uses a chemical called Kilo Max which is a glyphosate herbicide family. All precautions as contained in the “instructional pamphlet” are adhered to by members. Kilo Max has been scientifically and biologically proven to be non-toxic to ecosystem and humans. This was also confirmed by the study conducted by Dr Paul Kojo Mensa on the study titled “ Environmental Water quality Management of Glyphosate-based Herbicides in South Africa ,2012. The study was conducted in the Swartkops River (Eastern Cape area), it revealed that using a Glyphosate based herbicides (which Kilo Max is) had a negligible (if not at all) impact on the physicochemical and biological conditions. Therefore allegations that the chemical has a negative impact on the ecosystem and humans is baseless.
Further, all pilots involved in dagga spraying are trained, qualified and certified by both Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Civil Aviation Authority ( SACAA). They are registered with the DAFF and qualified to spray Crops. They have a SACAA Rating on Crop Spraying.
Question 3: Who signed off on the authorisation of Dagga OPS?
ANSWER: The Ops was approved by the Component Head: Operational Mobilisation and Support Services as part of the SAPS Drug Eradication Master Plan. It is an annual Dagga spray operation conducted by the Air Wing and it is contained in the SAPS Section Annual Performance Plan 2014/15.
Then the struggle for information begun
We took up the offer presented by SAPS spokesperson Solomon Makgale and requested that he supply us with a copy of the SANAB Dagga Ops Environment Impact Assessment.
After our initial request was left unanswered we sent a second request for access to the assessment in which we also asked if the South African Police could recite any law that exempts them the from laws prohibiting destruction of property via air spraying without an arrest or physical proof of dagga.
The response we received was very disappointing as it did not contain the environment impact assessment.
Solomon Makgale’s response: “I believe that we have responded to all your questions. There is nothing new to add.”
By the 2nd of March we have sent our 5th request to receive a copy of the document as was offered in our email conversation with the SAPS spokesperson.
On the 3rd of March we decided that it is time to apply for access to information as afforded by the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
A J750 PAIA was filled in and sent off to the Department of Justice who then directed it to the attention of Information Officer at the South African Police Service.
The SAPS information Officer speedily notified us that the request has been received and that it may take up to 30 days to deliver upon the request and that a fee will definitely apply as stipulated in the fees section of the Promotion of Information Act.
Now we eagerly await the deadline which is around the middle of April, just in time for 4.20 D-Day.
The reason why the Environment Impact Assessment is so important is because without the backing of the assessment the it could mean that the South African Police Service have been conducting illegal dagga spray operations for the past 15 years.
Edit: After the article was published, yesterday, on the 17th of March we received confirmation that our application for access to the Dagga Ops Environment Impact Assessment was successful.
They have sent us the Notice of Request Fee and we must now pay R35 to receive the information.
We say we have banned drugs to protect the public even at the risk of exposing drug consumers to various herbicides and poisons not made known to the public.
We also disregard the latest medical findings and the fact that dagga laws were found on segregation and discrimination that was even further exploited by us when we were known as the apartheid regime.
Present day South Africa we tend to disregard the developments in the United States even though most of our dagga spray operations are encouraged and funded by the Unites States but more accurately the DEA. The same agency that is still enforcing dagga prohibition by defying 20 US states’ decision to legalize and regulate medical dagga.
We really care for you sheeple. Why do you think we have given you such amazing things like alcohol, tobacco, GM foods, shale gas exploration, etc?
Because we really love you so much that we risk killing a few people in the process of profiteering while attempting to clear the dagga problem.
We really care so much for you that we will put you in jail with hardened criminals just to make sure you never use, smoke or sell dagga ever again.
We do not care if you are doing it for your livelihood. We really do not care about what doctors, patients and scientists have to say about dagga.
Stop pestering us with requests for dagga reform! Why don’t you go to your nearest pub or tavern and have some release from the modern day struggles of life but please don’t drink and drive yourself home.
Yes we overlook parents morally accepting that their kids abuse alcohol because what we don’t know about we don’t care about.
Ha ha ha you got us. Yes before the ANC was unbanned way before 1994 the main financial income for the ANC came from the sale & distribution of dagga but we now have legitimate sources of funding so we really couldn’t care at the moment, we are however thinking of selling stock piles of rhino horn.
We are indirectly supporting organized crime by keeping dagga illegal and unregulated but there is too much as stake if we should regulate dagga.
We will not only lose out on profits from hunting down & housing dagga users, sellers and distributors but you have to think about the impact dagga bio oil could have on the oil industry not to mention the paper and cotton industries they are all at risk of major profits loss. We cannot have that happen even at the expense of in-humanely jailing people for a victimless crime.
Yes we do do not have evidence to present to you for what I am about to say but let me say to you we are responsible for any and all persons affected by poisons that reach dagga users because of desperate dagga growers pushing dagga that has been sprayed by the SAPS Air Wing Dagga Ops.
If you suspect that you have been a victim there is really nothing you can do about it. What we do is completely legal. Everything was done by the book.
We legally poison you. You are not allowed to ingest any banned drugs a lot less toxic than herbicides in the first place.
You better do as we tell you sheeple!
** This letter is fictitious but could possibly be something that could be said if government spoke the truth about dagga.
Many parts of South Africa is currently suffering from a ganja dry spell as daggafarians wait on the 2015 harvest. Areas relying on dagga from Swaziland and Lesotho are most affected.
The South African National Defense Force: Operation Corona has kept a tight ship on South Africa’s borders, confiscating nearly 10 000kg* of dagga in 2014 with the majority of confiscations taking place between September & December.
Meanwhile the South African Police Service have also clamped down on local supply, confiscating a whopping 25 000kg* between August and December 2014.
The South African Police Service Air Wing has also had a major hand in the dry spell with DaggaOps that routinely spray dagga crops in South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland by helicopter with glyphosate, a deadly toxic herbicide.
Despite all of the efforts by the South African Government, South African Police Service & the South African National Defense Force to eradicate dagga, at the expense of the health & well being of its citizens, it is still readily available anywhere in South Africa from the street vendors to the schools.
It’s time for South Africa to turn over a new leaf and admit that dagga prohibition is not only a failure but also a violation human rights.