Wednesday, 06 February 2019

There was a sense of excitement, pride and hope at each of the three Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) campuses that the Department of Social Development visited during their respective orientation days in the Western Cape.

The purpose of the Department’s presence at the institutions was to fulfil the mandate of the Anti-Substance Abuse Education and Awareness in Institutions of Higher Learning Campaign. This campaign was devised as a response to the requirements of students after dialogues were conducted by the Department in a number of tertiary institutions in the Eastern Cape in 2016 and it seeks to educate students about the harmful effects of substance abuse and also to inform them about the resources that they have available from the Department of Social Development.


Similar to the students in the Eastern Cape, new CPUT learners expressed their wish to be part of an inclusive tertiary community. “I’m currently on the waiting list to live in one of the hostels in the campus. I think it would be safer and I yearn to be part of the united culture of the institution,” said Thalia Timm adding that she is grateful to know about the programmes and initiatives from the Department of Social Development.

A former university student who fell off the system after dropping out due to substance abuse, Zizipho Cuba, said she was grateful for the information about the emergency helplines provided by the Department. “I want to get my life back together and knowing that there is 24-hour help available for students through the Department of Social Development is encouraging,” said the 29-year-old.

Part of the exhibitions comprised the Department’s social workers engaging with students and giving them advice on how to handle day-to-day life experiences. Departmental information about how substance abuse contributes to the scourge of gender-based violence and HIV infections was also shared with the learners.

The Department’s Victim Empowerment Programme and its role in assisting victims was a topic of interest for students and parents alike.

The Department of Social Development is a custodian of the National Youth Policy (2015-2020) which seeks to consolidate youth initiatives that enhance the capabilities of young people to transform the economy and society.

The Policy emphasises the need for various youth development efforts and interventions that holistically respond to all aspects or spheres of young people's lives.
The Vice-Chancellor of CPUT, Dr Chris Nhlapo, also encouraged parents and students to make the best of all the facilities and programmes offered by the institutions.

Activations for the Anti-Substance Abuse Education and Awareness in Institutions of Higher Learning Campaign will be continuing throughout the country.