Links FAQ's
saps banner
Media Briefing notes of National Commissioner Gen Fannie Masemola at the drug destruction

26 OCTOBER 2023

Our National Safer Festive Season Operations have started on a high note as police continue to dismantle and disrupt the work of organised syndicates from every corner in South Africa.

These safer festive operations are being rolled out throughout the country and are running concurrently with OPERATION SHANELA which aims to ensure heightened police visibility throughout the busy festive season period.

Regular roadblocks, patrols, stop and searches, cordon and searches, high visibility patrols, compliance inspections at liquor outlets and second hand good dealers is the order of the day as we seek to make South Africa safer.

Through decisive police action, these operations are already bearing fruit as police continue to takedown criminals in all forms and shape. From those  who are involved in Cash-In-Transit (CIT) heists, ATM bombings, armed robberies, and those involved in drug trafficking.  

I am therefore pleased to announce that in the past two weeks, through heightened ,integrated and multidisciplinary operations, 20 000 criminals were arrested for various crimes ranging from murder ,rape and for being in possession of drugs.

Our focus is centred on preventing and combating serious and violent crime across the country, clamping down on counterfeit, contraband trade and the flow of illicit goods and food.

Our numbers are telling us that we are registering commendable progress in this regard.

To date, OPERATION SHANELA has resulted in the arrest of more than ONE-HUNDRED-AND –EIGHTY-FOUR-THOUSAND SUSPECTS (184 000).

TWO-THOUSAND-FOUR-HUNDRED AND THREE illegal and unwanted FIREARMS as well as more than 40-thousand rounds of ammunition were also seized during this period.


Members of the media, we have just witnessed, the destruction of 5 tons of drugs worth an estimated street value of 800 million rand.  These were drugs that were confiscated during day to day policing operations across the country. 

These include, cocaine, heroine, mandrax and marijuana.

This is the third drug destruction process in this financial year, the most recent destruction was in Cape Town in September where one-point-seven-tons to the value of 170-miliion rand was destroyed.

In the 2022/2023 financial year, twenty point eight tons of drugs with a street value of 2 billion rand was also destroyed.

It is worth noting that in this destruction, the drugs that are being destroyed are linked to a number of high profile cases including the following:

  • The Maydon Wharf case where more than one tonne of cocaine worth a street value of R400 million was seized. This drug bust happened in August 2022 when Ebrahim Kara, Elias Radebe and Meshack Ngobese were arrested in Cape Town after a truck transporting more than 600 blocks of cocaine was stopped by police and the drugs were discovered hidden in false wooden boards. This matter was finalised and Kara was handed down an eight year sentence while Radebe and Ngobese were handed down one year and six years imprisonment sentences respectively.
  • 1.3 tonnes in which illegal pharmaceuticals drugs/medicines in the form of tablets and capsules such as non-registered Viagra were confiscated in operations throughout the country.

These figures and successes do tell us that we are disrupting the drug use and distribution value chain in the country.

Ladies and gentlemen,

All these drugs are subjected to forensic testing on a regular basis by our Forensic Science Laboratory: Chemistry Section.

These drugs exhibit materials that have been destroyed today were done so after a thorough process which followed the conclusion of a court order, confirming the finalisation of cases.

It is also worth noting that all drugs exhibit materials that have been destructed are audited and a secondary audit is also conducted prior to today’s actual destruction by our quality management office to ensure compliance to the set standard.

We do believe that these drugs that have been taken off our streets will have a positive impact on our communities especially because in most cases young people are the primary users of these drugs.

On that note, it also encouraging that through OPERATION SHANELA, 15 thousand 400 suspects were arrested by our police officers for being in possession of drugs from 08th May to date.

The recent drug confiscation of R150 million rand of cocaine in KwaZulu Natal also illustrates the cooperation between law enforcement agencies across the world in clamping down on transnational organised crime.  These successes would not have been possible without the relentless ness and dedication of our crime intelligence members in following up on information. Indeed, our intelligence structures are hard at work in preventing and putting a stop to the drug trade in the country and beyond.  This is also a clear demonstration that all stakeholders in involved in border security are working together to tighten the control measures of cargo entering and departing our country.

Ladies and gentlemen…

For us to win the fight against drug peddling and other forms of criminality, it is going to take all of us working together, our communities, the business sector, the whole of government to hold the fort in making south Africa safer.

On a lighter note…

The National Crime Combatting Forum (NCCF) which is a structure led by myself as the National Commissioner and involves all nine Provincial Commissioners and their visible policing commanders have met to discuss plans in place to police the fanparks, drinking outlets, taverns, and public places where South Africans from all walks of life plan to come together to watch the rugby final between the Springboks and New Zealand! On that note, we take this opportunity to encourage South Africans to unite and celebrate in a responsible manner. On that note, we assure them that police will be out there to ensure celebrations take place in a safe and secure environment! 

I thank you!