Killer cat

Leungo Mokgwathi

Inside the dark, dangerous world of Methcathinone

Methcathinone, a potent drug known in the streets as Cat, is one of the country’s fastest growing industries, with a reach that stretches across Botswana and a demand that covers all age groups.

Incredibly addictive, the drug is particularly popular among the younger generation and is responsible for ruining more and more lives. It is usually snorted, but can be smoked, injected or taken orally.

With the craze taking a terrifying hold locally, The Voice sat down with a reformed drug dealer to learn a little more about the trade.

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It took a lot of convincing to get the informant to open up and share his story.

It is not law officials he fears but rather retribution from his ex-brothers in crime, who might come for him if he opens the doors to this dark world.

However, after some gentle coaxing, he finally begins to narrate the tale of his life as a drug pusher, which started in 2021.

“The pandemic left a huge hole in my pocket and as a man I had to do something to make ends meet. I never made it to University so my options were very limited, until I was introduced to the world of drugs,” he explains with a shrug that screams ‘what else could I do?’

Initially the 26-year-old just dealt marijuana but with time he elevated to the harder stuff, the likes of cocaine and Cat, which he sourced from South Africa and Eswatini.

“Where to get them depends on the kind of stuff you need. We mostly went to Eswatini for weed, and for drugs like Cat, Pretoria is the go to place. When you get there you will find out that Cat is being cooked mostly by Nigerians who are the biggest supplier in this region.”

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Grimly reminiscing on those trips, he stressed that sourcing them was always a dangerous and risky exercise.

“Going into it, you always know that there is a chance that you won’t come back alive. If you make it, there’s still the chance of getting arrested.”

He says the first time is the scariest but after a while you adapt, the nerves are forgotten and it becomes a specialty.

“You don’t even flinch because you are so used to it,” remembers the former dealer, adding he did not bother border jumping but rather moved between countries legally.

“You will get caught every now and then, but we always bribed our way out of such situations and life continued,” he adds with another shrug of his well-built shoulders.

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Indeed, paying off officials was no problem as, on a good month, he could make up to P40, 000. Despite this, he insists he was just a small fish in a huge pond.

“Some of the biggest players in the game of drugs are government officials and big corporates with their children at the forefront,” he continues grimly.

In the end, he cut out the trips to SA, using a supplier instead. He would then distribute to other dealers as well as selling himself.

He warns that the problem is getting worse, as Cat is currently the ‘biggest party essential’, especially for school kids.

“In terms of their accessibility, these drugs are sold literally at every street corner. The market is open to everyone, including uniformed kids, old people and mentally disturbed people.”

Due to its stimulating effects, the drug is fast finding a market amongst University students as they believe it helps them concentrate and ‘stay woke’.

Besides that, it apparently gives them an incredible high which is perfect for partying.

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After witnessing the horrible effects of Cat, with some of his clients losing their minds, our source, who dabbled in weed but never touched anything stronger, says he decided to quit dealing.

“I witnessed young promising people in my hood getting hooked onto it and it pained me to see lives being destroyed.”

He feels parents are often in denial, which denies their kids the chance to get help in time.

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“The reality is that these drugs are there and your kids have access to them on a daily basis, you need to be more alert and seek help if needed,” he advices desperately.

“Dealers out here don’t give a damn about another man’s life; it’s all about getting bread and some do it for the swag,” are his parting words.

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