An unlikely collaboration has been formed between the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad), in a bid to tackle gang violence and drug abuse across the city. The United Front Against Gangsterism and Drugs (UFAGAD), will seek to mobilize various other NGO’s, civil societies, and political organizations to join the cause.
The collaboration will not constitute a merger however, with the EFF and Pagad both continuing to run in their own respective capacities.
Discussing the partnership, Pagad executive committee member, Ebrahim Francis, said they were more than willing to work with any other individual or organisation, in the fight to completely eradicate the scourge of gangsterism and drugs. According to Francis, the objective of the UFAGAD would be to form a unitary front on the issue.
He noted the collaboration was still a work in progress, but was satisfied with the intention of both sides to bring about a gang free society.
“Once we have that, we can always work out the nuts and bolts of such a relation,” he said.
The Pagad brand has often been marred by incidents of vigilantism, and Francis admitted that the organisation did not deny making mistakes in the past. However, he insisted that those mistakes should not overshadow the aim of instilling values into the future generations.
“To be truthful to the cause, we must admit that mistakes were made,” he said.
“If we are not going to be the adults of the world, who put forward to the youth a vision of a drug free and gangster free society, we might as well pack up. Then democracy is going to be nothing to us.”
He acknowledged a sense of criminality during the early stages of the organisation, but insisted those elements had been dealt with very severely.
“We have ostracized people who do not see the vision as a pure vision, and who see this as an opportunity to enrich themselves. We have made it very clear to people with that kind of mentality that they are not welcome in the movement,” he said.
Francis said they were looking to get as many ‘like minded organizations’ to join the UFAGAD by the middle of September at the latest. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)