PRETORIA– South African police have made a major breakthrough in the fight against the scourge of drugs with the discovery of what appears to be a drug laboratory at a house in Orlando West in Soweto, Johannesburg.

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole visited the house which was being used as a multi-million rand clandestine drug laboratory Thursday, hours after its discovery.

At this stage we have recovered tablets, powder, an unidentified solution and equipment that will be subjected to forensic processing to confirm identity, description and use, he said as SAPS members were still hard at work combing the scene for more evidence.

The breakthrough emanates from collaborative work between the communities and the police. The community has played a commendable role in this intelligence-driven operation and that must be recognized as we continue to advocate for partnership policing, said Sitole.

Police have yet to determine the estimated value of the items recovered but assured the public that they have enough evidence to pursue a criminal case.

We will at a later stage be able to give further factual context in relation to the estimated value of the recovery. But what we have found is sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal case being opened, said Sitole, who added that the breakthrough means police will be able to choke the supply of drugs.

Arresting peddlers and runners is important, but we cannot over-emphasize the even greater need to arrest and close down the actual manufacturers and suppliers, he said.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has appealed to the community, the media or anyone who has information, to come forward and report on any further detail that could assist in concluding the case.

The truth is, the house had been abandoned upon our arrival. The SAPS is on the lookout for suspects and we therefore need the public to assist us with apprehending the suspect or suspects,” Sitole said.

To the media, we continue to appeal to you to also partner with us in the fight against crime in general. When the public reports crime to you, please report to us immediately. We should realise that the ultimate intention is to prioritise the fight to keep crime at its lowest levels.”