Across South Africa, communities are being
decimated by a deadly narcotic known as nyaope. This is the story of a drug epidemic fuelled
by corruption. And one man’s fight for redemption. A drug epidemic is raging in townships across
my country. Nyaope is a highly addictive heroin based
narcotic which sometimes contains HIV medication. It’s often mixed with marijuana and smoked
or injected. This drug is slowly eating away at South Africa’s
first post-apartheid generation. And I want to find out why. My name is Golden Mtika. I’m a local crime reporter. I know the dangers of nyaope more than most. In the past six years, the drug has claimed
the lives of two of my young nephews. I’ve come to their old neighbourhood in
search of answers. In the crowd I spot one of my nephew’s old
friends. Jesus came from a good home and was always
immaculately dressed. I can’t believe how far he’s fallen. I’d like to talk to him but he’s too far
gone. Seeing Jesus has brought back painful memories. In the space of five years, I lost my twin
nephews Innocent and Enoch to nyaope. Both of them, my nephews, were nyaope addicts. We tried our best in fact to give them or
to guide them to stop smoking this nyaope. At the end of the day, they ended up losing their
lives. This is where Enoch and Innocent have been
laid to rest. Innocent was killed by nyaope addicts for
the earrings that he had. They took it to go and sell it so they can
satisfy their appetite in, of nyaope. He was stabbed to death and he died instantly. His twin brother Enoch, he was with his friend
who was also a nyaope addict. And he stole money, his friend stole money
from somebody on the street and ran away. And Enoch couldn’t run away. They grabbed him. They beat him very severly. He was in a coma for two months. That’s how we lost Enoch through
nyaope. I’m sitting here, right on top of this grave
and I’ve got my two nephews laying here who died for nothing, who died for nothing. Life is so cheap. So it’s my plea to others, that you know
what happened to them, it shouldn’t happen to other people as well. I think it’s my responsibility to go out
there and try to help those who are still in nyaope and see if they can change. I’ll come again next time,
to visit you. May your soul rest in peace. The loss of my nephews has had a devasting
effect on me and my family. But we are not alone. Most families have been affected by nyaope,
you only have to turn the radio on and tv, newspapers, you see stories of nyaope every
day. After what happened to my nephews, I’m determined
to help Jesus escape his addiction, before he suffers the same fate. I find him scavenging in an open sewer. Like thousands of other addicts, he’s desperate
to buy his first fix of the day. He agrees to talk but seems distracted. Is there anything that you wouldn’t do if
you didn’t get a, a fix? Aahh. How are you feeling? Oooh ehh. But feeding his addiction is a constant challenge. In a day, how much do you have to spend? Is it hard to get nyaope into the township? It’s hard seeing just how low Jesus has
fallen. But in the nightmare world of nyaope, you
can always sink lower. As I discovered, some of Jesus’s friends
are going to potentially deadly extremes to feed their addiction. In search of a bigger hit, they not only inject
the drug but also share the same needle. So are you not scared of HIV? These guys are already taking one hell of
a risk but what I was about to see next was truly chilling. After injecting the nyaope, the addict draws
his own blood back out into the syringe. To make the hit go further, this mixture of
blood and nyaope will then be injected by the others. What I’m witnessing is sheer madness. When I saw that, one drawing blood from himself
and injecting the other one, it scared me most. My body was like, you know, crumbling. He’s gonna inject with that syringe. It’s a suicide, that’s a complete suicide
for me. Seeing Jesus’s friends risking their lives
for nyaope has made me more determined than ever to try to save him. But Jesus has a son he hasn’t seen for a
long time. And I wonder if that could motivate him. Do you miss your son? Yeah. How old is he? So how does it make you feel? You know, for not seeing your child? What would allow you to see the child? If you can just be clean, from smoking nyaope. Yeah. So if you go to rehab, I’m very sure that
you know, your life will change, for good, yeah. And you’ll be back again with your family,
you’ll be looking after your boy. Would it be okay with you? Yeah. If we can ask the rehab to get you a place
there. A few days later, the rehab centre has agreed
to take Jesus and I go to try and find him again. I find him at one of his regular spots. But it’s not looking good. He’s already smoking. I wonder if he’ll still feel the same about
going into rehab. Do you think you’ll miss this? Jesus says his goodbyes. His resolve is strong. But I need to get him to the centre before
his cravings begin. The tenth commandment rehab centre in Tembisa claims to have a success rate of over seventy percent. It runs a strict regime. Jesus is looking tense. Joseph is a former nyaope addict who mentors
new arrivals. Joseph seats Jesus down and explains the centre’s
rules. He looks scared. But it’s too late to back out. Jesus has been addicted to nyaope for almost
a decade. He’ll be kept under lock and key until he’s
clean. This program may be his last hope for redemption. The next day I return to see how Jesus is doing. But despite the cravings, Jesus still seems determined. It’s time for me to leave Jesus. Now he must fight his demons alone. I hope he can find the strength to beat nyaope. If he can, there’s a chance he can rebuild
his life and connect with his family again. Thousands of young South Africans are in exactly
the same situation as Jesus. But who are the shadowy people responsible
for flooding our townships with the drug? Through my underworld contacts, I’ve managed
to find a nyaope trafficker, who’s willing to talk to me. But he’s suspicious. Yeah. I’ve heard he’s a key supplier to dozens
of local nyaope dealers. Okay, the stuff that we have it here, how
long would it last for you? How much can you get? Ten kilos? One township, ten kilos. I can’t imagine the misery this is causing. How does it make you feel when you look at
one of the youths, here, in the township, you know has lost hope in his life, just because
he’s smoking the stuff? Oh, so this is basically for the, for the
sake of money. Nyaope has long been illegal in South Africa. So how can dealers like these operate so openly? How do you deal with the cops? Alright you just have to bribe them. How much would you give a cop? Is it only the junior level cops or up to
the higher rank? He’s selling nyaope and he doesn’t care. What he cares about it’s money. I’ve lost my two nephews through this nyaope. I think for me the government needs to come
in very strongly and arrest each and every person who is dealing in nyaope, because they
are killing our society. I’ve managed to find a cop who is prepared
to talk about corrupt officers who are feeding off the drug trade. I’m meeting him at a secret location. Hello
Hi, hi, hi. My friend. Yeah, I’m already around this area Oh… ok He really sounds a bit nervous but he’s promised that he’s coming. We’ve disguised his identity to protect him. Do you notice that nyaope is now very common
in our streets, eh, almost like every corner of our streets. Yes yes most specially in our townships err
there’s there is a lot of Nyaopes. It’s killing our country, our community,
our childrens, our brothers. How frustrating is it to you? I’m trying to combat crime and protect members
of the community but some of our members they are taking bribes to those who supply those
nyaopes. How could the corruption be stopped? To stop corruption arrest those police officers
who’s involved in crime. This cop is taking a big risk talking to me. It’s very dangerous, to cover up that story. They can kill me and also my family. Thanks for speaking to me and be safe. Thank you, you’re welcome my brother. The most disappointing thing about it, these
police getting bribes from the dealers, is that they’re giving them the freedom to
operate in our townships freely and making drugs accessible to our children, very easily. I want to find out just how widespread the
problem of corruption within the police force has become. A nyaope street dealer has agreed to wear
a secret camera but it’s very risky. The cops usually arrive just after changing
the shift. And they will drive around the township, seeing each and every dealer to collect money from them. It doesn’t take long for a cop to take a
bribe. I have a cold drink for you, man. Over the next four days, our cameras captured
police officers repeatedly receiving bribes from a known drug dealer. We’ve obscured their faces to protect his
identity. This is pretty obvious, a
police van pulls in and a dealer of nyaope comes to the police and he tells them business
is not good but I’ll give you cold drink. And in South African terms cold drink means
I’ll give you bribery. For the love of money, they just collect money
and they leave these drug dealers to roam around in our streets, sell drugs freely. So, to me this is not good. It’s not good at all. Not only to me but to everyone else in our
society. We put these allegations to the South African
Police Service. In response, they said that “Police always
encourage members of the public to come forward and report information on crime” and highlighted
recent high profile arrests of drug dealers in the Johannesburg area. It’s been six months since I left Jesus
in rehab. We’ve been supporting his treatment and
I’ve heard he’s now clean of nyaope. Hi Jesus. Eh, hi man. You’re looking clean man. You’re looking very clean, eh, very neat,
sure. Eh, you’re looking, just look at you. I can’t believe this is you man. You’re looking great man. How has it been at the rehab? The hardest part was my first three days in
the first week. Oh, there’s pains, there is sleepless nights
you know. I’m finding it hard to put words to it,
because even the thought of it is like yo, my God. Do you think you will ever go back? No, I wouldn’t. Smoking nyaope. No, I wouldn’t go back to that ever again. I’m taking him home to meet his family for
the first time in years. I’m a bit nervous, you know. Yeah, I’m a bit nervous. But, yeah, how is she gonna react towards
me, that’s what worries me. What happens if your mum rejects you? Eh. That’s, that’s gonna be, eh, I don’t
know. That’s gonna be, that’s gonna hit me hard. Which house is it? It’s around the corner. Ah, so you can go and speak to your mum. Okay. That’s my little sister. That’s my little sister. Home sweet home. Yeah, it feels very good actually. Yeah, I’m just holding the tears to not
fall. I’m looking like I’m gonna cry for real
because eh I’ve been missing my mum. I’ve been missing my mother. I feel very proud about Jesus. I hope that you know, he will show up to them
you know that he’s really changed. Because it all has to start with him. Jesus is back on streets, this time spreading the message to nyaope addicts that the drug can be beaten. But across South Africa, dealers continue
to push the drugs on the next generation. Addicts are still hustling to get the money
to pay for their next fix. And I continue to visit my nephews’ grave,
praying that other families can be safe from the tragedy of nyaope.