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PIGG’S PEAK – With dagga harvesting season currently ongoing, women and children are being used for the tough job of separating the dagga buds from the unwanted leaves.

Atleast nine people, made up of seven women and two men, were arrested over the weekend after being found in possession of the illegal herb.
For such a simple but risky task known as ‘kuncutsa’, the workers are said to earn at least E50 to fill up a 10-litre bucket, earning far more than any other casual work available in the region.
However, police officers from Buhleni Police Post have been on the lookout for such operations. This resulted in the arrest of the nine people the past weekend.

They were allegedly found at the same place where the strong aroma of fresh dagga being trimmed gave police officers a reason to apprehend the suspects.
About 77.88 kilogrammes of dagga valued at E62 304 was confiscated during the arrest which took place at an area known as Mgululu. The area is under Mhlangatane, which is near the South African borderline.
The suspects were also found with two skins of Impala as well as two skins of warthogs.

Police believe the animals may have been killed for the purpose of consumption by the suspects.
It is alleged dagga farmers normally take advantage of the availability of wildlife as a source of food as some live in the bushes for several months.
Proximity to the South African borderline has made it an easy spot to transport dagga whose initial market is the neighbouring country.

It is alleged the skins had been removed from wild animals which had been killed for the purpose of consumption.
Acting on a tip off, police officers swooped on the group of women including the men found busy working on the dagga.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendant Khulani Mamba confirmed the report.

He said the suspects were expected to appear at the Pigg’s Peak Magistrates Court today.
Mamba also said the police will continue operations to curb not only dagga dealing but crime in general.

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