Monday, 05 February 2018

Johannesburg, 05 February 2018 - The social work profession as a programme received a special focus today when Minister Bathabile Dlamini met with the delegation from the State of Maryland which is in the country for the first phase of the implementation of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department and the State of Maryland. The MoU which was signed in May last year aims to strengthen relations between the Department and the State of Maryland. 

The meeting heard today that one of the issues that South Africa may want to consider in the fight against alcohol and substance abuse, was a specialist course in addiction for social work graduates.

The delegation revealed to Minister Dlamini that as a state they have had to make sure that social workers understood addiction by providing a specialist course to deal with the scourge of drugs in the State of Maryland.

“It is very important that social workers are equipped with training that speaks to the problems of the country and this is why in Maryland we needed to make sure that there is a post-graduate course that focuses on addiction,” said Dr Jean Bailey who is leading the delegation.

Minister Dlamini shared that she was concerned about the levels of alcohol and substance abuse and the high number of women arrested for trafficking drugs in foreign countries.

“When we visited jails in Brazil, we did not find just poor women but young people who were professionals, others were students and for me that also revealed that if we do not deal quickly with the issues of alcohol and substance abuse, we are going to lose a lot of young people,” she said.

She also revealed that she wanted the Western Cape and the Northern Cape to receive a special and targeted focus when it came to dealing with alcohol and substance. “We must also understand the history of these two Provinces when it comes to the issues of alcohol.

There was a deliberate attempt by the apartheid government to keep these communities dependent on alcohol through the drop system and we are still paying heavily for that injustice,” she said.

The delegation has been in the country since February 2 and will also look into the area of Early Childhood Development and visit Mpumalanga on Wednesday. They will leave the country on February 12.



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