Keep halephirimi/two-step/temik (aldicarb poison) out of reach in our communities

Keep halephirimi/two-step/temik (aldicarb poison) out of reach in our communities

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Basetsana Moshoeshoe wa ha Makhabane started this petition to Thoko Didiza (Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) and

Today I am angry at the world, battling myriads of negative feelings and emotions. Here's why: I had a sister, Keletso Pearl, one of the most beautiful souls that this world has ever known. She was my everything, my mother even more than my mother, my bestfriend; and since we were so closely connected I looked at her as my twin. "Sisie" as I called her, was only twenty-seven years of age, in the process of obtaining her Masters degree in Psychology; she was an Anthropology blogger and had all good things going for her. I wish she knew how much she made the world a better place. She battled depression which led to her aldicarb ingestion, grievously, we lost her to suicide. This one is for you! Robala ka kgotso Mokoena e motle! You may have gone away but in our hearts, forever you'll stay. 

South Africa is among the countries with the highest suicide prevalence rates in Africa. Arguably, part and parcel of the reason why this is the case may be that a lot of us are living with depression and other mental illnesses in a country where mental health care services are inaccessible and unaffordable. In other words, for one to be attended to by a professional, they would have to pay exorbitantly; and if they cannot afford private services, they would be placed on a waiting list for months or even years at a public facility. It is disturbing to note the fact that thousands of people are yelping and having their mental health and wellness deteriorate whilst being disregarded. 

Appallingly, in a country where suicide is purely rife and remains an overlooked pandemic; the sale of the deadliest poison; halephirimi (/two step/temik/ aldicarb) is becoming even more practicable by the day. It is an organophosphate and superwarfarins carbamate pesticide (all a nematicide, insecticide and rodenticide in one) which contains one of the most deadliest aldicarb poison. The Sesotho word "halephirimi" literally translated means "you will never see the sunset", therefore there lies an implicit guarantee that once ingested, chances of death are very high. Studies show that within a little five to fifteen minutes of ingestion, one will start reacting as it has a debilitative effect on the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and central nervous system. Soon after ingestion, reactions include vomiting, salivation, mucus and sputum production, twitching, phlegming, paralysis, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, diarrhea and ultimately; death.

The bags of death sell for a bargainious R10 or less in every street corner of our CBDs and communities. You will never find the vendors selling the granulated material without a smile whilst squealing "woz' othenga, come buy and kill the rats", to my way of thinking, they are not aware of the deleterious effect that the sale of their commodity has on our society. They have death for a brand and it is our duty as a people to put effect to the ban of the sale and possession of the poison which has and will continue to claim the lives of our loved ones through suicide and homicide. The poison is also commonly used by thieves, robbers and burglars who groundlessly feed food swathed in the poison to animals, especially watchdogs. The malefactors commit these atrocious animal cruelties in order to achieve break-ins; many watchdogs and other domestic pets have fell victim to the poison. Therefore, in a country where the crime rate is so high, it would not be such a bad idea to train your pet to refuse food from strangers therein (i.e poison proofing). 

The Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act (Act No. 36 of 1947) blatantly outlaws the sale, possession, use, acquisition, importation, exportation and disposal any fertilizer, farm feed, agricultural remedy or stock remedy unless it complies as per Clause 7 which states that prohibition will be overlooked on the grounds that : (a) the remedy is registered under the Act under the name of which it is sold; (b) it is packed in the manner, mass and volume of which it is it described; and, (c) it is packed in a container which complies with its prescribed requirements and it is sealed and labeled in such a manner. Other forces of law such as Regulation No. R17 16 of 26 July 1991, Regulation 994 of 26 July 1992 and Regulation No. R18 17 of February 2003, were also put in place to counteract the sale, possession and acquisition of the agricultural remedies. Additionally, in Gazette No. 40166 of the 26th of July 2016, the former minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana; acting under Act No. 36 of 1947, also proscribed against the sale, possession, use, export, import, acquisition and disposal of any agricultural remedy containing aldicarb. Incontestably, it is clear to note that by law it is verboten to even get one's hands on the poison, yet it is made available on every corner of the street. If there are so many existing laws that proscribe all that has to do with this poison, why is it still made available to our reach? 

The well-renowned toxicologist, Dr Gerhard Verdoorn of the Griffon Poison Information Centre; has for years supplicated for the raid and wipeout of the poison from the market and went unheard despite his countless efforts. He posits that the poison is claiming too many lives, both of humans and animals in a barbarous manner and claims that if we do not listen to the unheeded call to fight against the poison as a people and as a country; we might find ourselves in an even much worser crisis. For years on end, Dr Verdoon has been trying to raise awareness and to reach out to all relevant authorities regarding the matter with no luck. As he sees it, it is not a matter of people not being aware of all that is happening but it is a matter of a lack of law enforcement. Once again, this is another recital of our authorities having a colossal malfunction and crime syndicates carrying all before one. Ready and most eager to do battle is Dr Verdoorn, who implores for more people to petition against all that has to do with the present-day exterminator in our society, aldicarb. 

With this petition, we are calling out on our government to hold hands with us in stringently decontaminating our street corners, confiscating the commodity and eliminating it completely from the market so the ban of the sale and possession is put into effect fully. The main goal is to make the aldicarb inaccessible and to get it out of reach in our immediate communities. The law should be enforced and forces need to be tightened so the manufacturers, wholesalers, vendors and everyone else who makes the highly hazardous poison accessible is charged with the execrable crime of homicide (murder and/ attempted murder) depending on merits

Like me, you may have lost someone to suicide or homicide through this poison, or your pet, or you may know someone that has, or know someone who is contemplating an attempt. This poison cannot keep claiming more lives, at least not on our watch when we know the rifeness of suicide and crime in this country. 

I urge you to sign this petition and help in the fight to save lives. Together we can clamp down the illegal sale of the banned commodity and keep the poison out of reach in our communities! 

 

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