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Zuma: SA families are being torn apart by drug use

The president says drug use among SA's youth has left many parents living in fear of their own children.

President Jacob Zuma addresses the crowd during Youth Day celebrations at Orlando stadium in Soweto on 16 June 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma said drug use among South Africa's youth has left many parents living in fear of their own children.

The president has encouraged communities to work together with police and affected parents to help fight the use of drugs in communities.

Zuma was speaking at yesterday's youth day commemoration event in Soweto where he warned that those who sell drugs and alcohol to children will face harsh action.

Zuma said South African families are being torn apart by drug use.

"Some parents live in fear of their children, who terrorise them due to the abuse of nyaope and cocaine."

He says government is working on building rehabilitation centres across the country, to make help more accessible.

"Those who are already addicted should seek treatment. Government is building treatment centres in every province."

Zuma has thanked young people who have sought help for their addictions.

LISTEN: #YouthDay: 'SA must heal before it celebrates'

WARNING TO TAVERN OWNERS

The president yesterday told thousands of people that the state supported an anti-alcohol abuse campaign by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas).

Cosas urged school-goers not to celebrate Youth Day by getting drunk and threatened to strip naked anyone wearing school uniform and drinking alcohol.

The student movement said instead of getting drunk, the youth of 1976 focused on addressing the country's injustices and should therefore be remembered properly.

Zuma warned young South Africans against abusing alcohol, which he said affects their ability to do well at school.

"Some children dodge school and are seen drinking at taverns in school uniform."

He said tavern owners who preyed on school children must also be dealt with.

DA COMMEMORATES YOUTH DAY

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane used Youth Day commemorations to accuse the African National Congress (ANC) of betraying the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Maimane was addressing DA members in Soweto, gathered for the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprising.

He said the DA chose to commemorate Youth Day by marching through the streets of Soweto, to highlight the plight of young people in the country.

"Young people who can't find work, young people who are left out, young people who still receive Bantu Education. Until those young people are free, none of us are free."

Leading marchers through Soweto, Maimane also made a stop at the late Nelson Mandela's old house in Orlando, and promised not to betray the former president's legacy - like the ANC has.

"We'll not betray the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Tata said it's not that we're free but have merely achieved the freedom to be free."

Maimane said if South Africans want to honor the youth of 1976 properly, they must vote for his party.

The DA leader said the ANC, as government, has not properly honoured the youth of 1976.

"How can it be that after 40 years only one in three South Africans make it to matric?"

Maimane said South Africans must entrust the DA with this mandate.

"If you want freedom, you must know that you must vote for freedom."