The first part of this is background information, and is presented “as is”. I am not providing links to any references or sources; feel free to look it up on your own. If you have something to add, or if you really can’t find something, please leave a comment. : )
Opiates – heroin – come from Afghanistan these days. In recent decades, very nearly all the world’s production of heroin is centered in Afghanistan.
In the past, poppies were cultivated in this region, but refining into heroin had occurred elsewhere. In recent decades, though, the refining has been done increasingly on-site in Afghanistan.
Today, high-quality refined heroin leaves Afghanistan via three main routes for Europe. The least used of these is called the “Southern Route” and begins by running from producing areas to the coast of Pakistan or Iran. From there, heroin is loaded aboard various kinds of ships, but especially aboard dhows, to cross the Indian Ocean.
Much of that heroin goes to Africa, and most of that ultimately is for transshipment to Europe.
The product has generally gone ashore into East Africa. The dhows dock at small islands, or unload their product onto smaller boats at sea, in order to avoid detection in larger ports.
Often, though, the dhows go farther south…
South Africa has many benefits for traffickers: there is good infrastructure, both physical (roads, etc) and financial; and, as the most developed and second largest economy in Africa, there are plenty of connections to the larger global economy. Another important benefit is the increasing corruption of the ruling ANC, which creates an environment conducive to large-scale illegal activities.
Sometimes the product is brought in, perhaps hidden in shipping containers, to ports such as Durban and Cape Town. More frequently, though, the heroin is unloaded into Mozambique, and broken down into smaller shipments to be sent on. From Mozambique, it may go by road to Zimbabwe, perhaps even continuing on to Botswana. From Botswana, it generally crosses the border into South Africa, then is moved along South Africa’s road network. For example, one route takes it down the N18, then the N14, then the N10, and across the border into Namibia, from where it eventually finds its way northward to the markets in Europe.
Along routes where narcotics are moved, the drugs become less expensive due to their increased availability. Increased availability and decreased cost together result in increased use. To get money for their drugs, drug users resort to street crime, so there will also be a rise in thefts, robberies, car jackings, home invasions and so on. So, wherever drugs are trafficked, there is a rise in drug use and in crime incidental to the drug use.
Also, drug-trafficking organizations employ armed… uh, “security”. : ) Loyalty is important, but so is expertise and ability.
With these thoughts in mind, let’s consider some excerpts from An Investigation of the Motivational Factors for Farm Attacks and Its Consequential Injurious Phenomena, an MA dissertation by Gumbi Mduduzi Godling Cristopher at the University of Limpopo:
One hundred (100%) per cent of the respondents stated that attacks which occurred on their farm were well-planned.
All of the surviving victims mentioned that the attacks are linked with a crime syndicate, with the chief aim of robbing farmers off their money, valuables and weapons in order to fund their organization.
The fact that perpetrators come from Gauteng, gets picked up after an attack, communicates about the possible cash to be taken (intelligence gathering) as well as the laying out of signs strongly indicate a collaboration that can be described as organised crime.
Seventy-eight (78%) percent of the respondents who reported attacks on their farm are a form of intimidation, aimed to drive farmers off their land. Respondent four stated that farm attacks are not motivated by land claims; but by intimidation to make farmers leave their land even if there are no claims on the farm.
Respondents mentioned that attacks are attributed to an organised crime syndicate which attacks farmers for their weapons and money or simply to kill them. The precision of attacks such as knowing the best time to attack, cleaning the crime scene (picking up cartridges) and weapons handling skills indicate some form of training, prior planning from the attackers such as surveying the property and the farmers’ routine activities are all characteristics of military reconnaissance.
One hundred percent (100%) of the respondents reported that their daily movements or routine activities contributed to the attacks. All the respondents stated that attackers do a survey of the farm to determine the probabilities of executing the attack successfully.
The researcher cannot reach a conclusion that renting or owning a farm is a motivational factor of the perpetrators to attack. What is clear is that attacks are often violent and in some instances victims have been shot at or killed on sight.
The researcher considers that disputes with labourers are not an ultimate contributing factor that determines the impetus to attack the farmer.
From the stolen items listed above the researcher concludes that attackers target farms because of their arsenal of weapons and for money and other valuables such as jewellery and cellular phones.
South Africa’s farm attacks constitute an organized, military-style campaign; this is a terroristic psyop. Its long-term goal is to terrorize the farmers off the land, whether the land belongs to the farmers or not.
The description of the attacks matches what we would expect if a drug trafficking organization (DTO) were behind it.
But why would a DTO do this? Wouldn’t it make more sense to try to slip the drugs through without calling attention to the operation?
The description also matches what we would expect if a government-sponsored paramilitary group were behind it.
It is clear that this kind of thing does not happen over an extended period of time on the territory of a reasonably stable and functioning country without the national government being aware of it through national and police intelligence sources.
A DTO operating with the de facto consent of corrupt politicians in key positions of power in government would exactly match the description of the farm attackers from the report excerpts above.
This is especially true if you factor in similar attacks on black victims who are too poor, and in many cases too illiterate, to draw attention to their plight.
Is a DTO establishing control over places within South Africa for retail distribution of heroin, together with control over more rural areas for use as safe houses and to warehouse their product? They presumably have the government paid off; but armed, rural farmers, with a mutual support network and over whom the government may have less influence, could cause a problem for trafficking of controlled substances either through the country or to retail markets within the country.
By the way… what happens when “state capture” is done by organized crime?
No matter how you slice it, it seems key people in the government of South Africa may now be involved in the heroin business.