MoH Acts Swiftly To Criminalise CAT Following Court Ruling


  • Plugs the hole where CAT was not listed as an illicit substance
  • High Court was recently compelled to agree with litigant against DPP




The Ministry of Health has acted swiftly to designate methcathinone an illicit substance and possession or use of the drug a criminal offence following a recent court decision that refrained from criminalising it outright. The decision and amendment were published last week on the Government Gazette.


The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), was soon issuing a public warning in which it emphasised the potent stimulant properties of CAT and its associated physical and psychological risks.


The DEA highlighted several adverse effects of the drug, including nausea, damage to nasal cavities, nosebleeds, involuntary grinding of teeth, blurred vision, mental confusion, and potential damage to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, and the cardiovascular system which can ultimately lead to death.


Threat to society


The DEA also warned that consumption of CAT could impair rational decision-making, induce depression and anxiety, trigger memory loss, instigate paranoid delusions and incite violent behaviour, and thus pose a significant threat to society.


CAT’s prevalence among the youth has raised serious concern within the community, prompting urgent measures to address its possession and use and to mitigate its detrimental impact.


Justice Nthomiwa Nthomiwa of the Maun High Court had ruled that because there is no law that criminalises possession of methcathinone in Botswana, the police cannot arrest anyone found in possession of the drug that is known as CAT on the street.

Not listed

The ruling also meant that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) could not charge anyone found in possession of CAT because it is not listed on the schedule of the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Justice Nthomiwa made this ruling when delivering judgement in a case in which Newton Roggy Pelekekae had taken the DPP to court for charging him with possession of CAT.

He sought a review of the decision of the DPP, saying it was irrational and unlawful.

Justice Nthomiwa agreed with him, saying his (the judge’s) interrogation of the illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act reveals only two tables on which methcathinone is not listed as an illicit substance.