Pretoria, South Africa – A widespread and lucrative local heroin market has expanded across South Africa, facilitated by gangs, organised crime and incompetent or corrupt police.

Full report here:Heroin in South Africa

The rapid emergence of the thriving industry has gone largely undetected by police and government despite more than 100 000 users. Its estimated annual turnover may be worth billions of rands. The problem is made worse by poor drug policy and neglect of marginalised communities.

From the report

Tanzanian networks have been pivotal in developing local heroin markets – especially in South Africa The Tanzanian coast has been central to this route since it was established, and Tanzanian networks have been pivotal in developing local heroin markets – especially in South Africa. The heroin trade in East and Southern Africa must be understood as comprising a high-volume, highly lucrative transit trade destined for, primarily, European and Canadian markets, and a relatively lowervolume regional trade for local consumption that has spun off the transit trade and developed dynamics of
its own.

In Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Johannesburg and Tshwane, Tanzanians largely control heroin supply. In suburbs where South African gangs control retail drug markets, Tanzanians act as a wholesalers, and supply heroin to gangs for them to distribute and sell. In other suburbs – usually inner-city neighbourhoods home to African immigrant communities – Tanzanians control distribution themselves, although they may employ locals or other nationalities as dealers…

Tanzanian networks have been bringing heroin into South Africa since the early 2000s, although this was probably at first a more ad hoc phenomenon, driven by enterprising migrants rather than being a concerted push to establish a market. This dynamic appears to have shifted markedly about five years ago, after which these networks became more serious about expansion and the market grew rapidly.
As reported in The heroin coast, over the last few years police and military operations in slum areas of Dar es Salaam also appear to have driven hard-core Tanzanian gang members to relocate to other parts of Southern Africa, including Cape Town. On the Cape Flats Tanzanians are referred to as Bongos and are reported to have secured protection through the Yuckies gang (who themselves are aligned with the 27s gang) – indicating a distinct identity and role in Cape Town’s criminal market. As with the expansion of problematic heroin use, the growth, scale and increased organisation of Tanzanian
criminal networks have also gone largely unnoticed over the last five years.