A man in the Free State has been arrested after being found in possession of dagga and also selling biscuits laced with the drug to learners.
A community member had raised concerns with local police after several learners were taken to a clinic. The school pupils had apparently consumed the biscuits, known as “space cookies,” after being buying them from the accused, 46-year-old Sthembiso Shezi. He is originally from Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal.
Shezi is alleged to have sold these “space cookies” to children from various schools in Deneysville.
SAPS Free State says they pounced on Shezi in his shack on Wednesday and found him with 301 zip lock bags containing dagga worth an estimated street value of R20 000 as well as an undisclosed amount of cash.
He subsequently made an appearance before the Sasolburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday where he was released on a warning, pending the outcome of the forensic results.
In a statement on Monday, 9 May 2022, Fezile Dabi District Commissioner Major General Moses Makubo commended the community for turning to police for assistance in clamping down on such crimes.
“I highly commend the strong relations and trust our community members have in our members as they too are parents. The fight against crime can only be achieved if we share a common goal,” Makubo said.
These “space cookies” are quite the trend in South African schools. In April, at least 15 learners in Gauteng were sent to hospital, after also consuming dagga-laced baked goods.
The affected learners are from Randfontein High School in Gauteng’s West Rand and Mamellong Secondary School in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni. Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi expressed his concern about the trend.
“We are really concerned and dissatisfied at the ongoing consumption of these ‘space cakes’ where learners become sick and are often hospitalised. We urge learners to refrain from purchasing or consuming unknown substances that put their health and lives at risk,” he said at the time.