28 MAY 2021
Master of ceremonies and Acting Director-General, Mr Linton Mchunu
Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Hon. Mr Mondli Gungubele
Deputy Minister of Social Development, Mrs Henriette Bogopane – Zulu in absentia
MEC of Social Development in Gauteng, Ms Morakane Mosupye
Executive Mayor City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality - Cllr Mzwandile Masina
United Nations Representative: Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva
Chairperson and Members of the Central Drug Authority (CDA)
Colleagues, Comrades and friends
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am delighted today to be part of this auspicious occasion to officially inaugurate the new members of the CDA. This occasion comes at the right time, after many months if not years of diligent work. This inauguration happened after the 64th Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) session that commenced from 12 April 2021 and concluded on 16 April 2021. The CND purpose is to combat the World Drug Problem through the evidence – based interventions and collaboration between Member States.
In my capacity, as the Minister of Social Development, I have looked forward to this day, because I am concerned about the devastating impact of the scourge of COVID- 19 pandemic, Gender Based –Violence (GBV), alcohol and substance abuse in the country. The biggest problem we have in the country is the legal substances such as alcohol and cannabis/dagga. These challenges are increasing and affect the majority of the young people who are the future of South Africa. We are living in the new normal contributed by the scourge of COVID – 19 pandemic. The impact of the scourge of these aforementioned challenges has already ravaged the institutions of higher learning; and the country, including the global sphere.
As we all know, that South Africa is attacked by scores of social ills, such as GBV, alcohol, substance abuse, gangsterism, human trafficking, crime, violence to name but a few. Ladies and gentlemen, these problems are not unique to South Africa. It is a global phenomenon of extraordinary proportions that threatens the stability and security of nations, including South Africa. Concerted efforts are required to uproot the scourge of GBV, alcohol and substance abuse.
The escalating levels of GBV, alcohol and substance abuse, as well as the emerging new psychoactive substances like nyaope and whoonga keeps on moving in a staggering manner. This requires all the relevant stakeholders to work together to curb this problem. The CDA will come handy to prevent these problems that we are faced with.
Alcohol and substance abuse undermine our development efforts by eroding social, economic and human capital. Allow me to indicate that these social ills and related challenges rest in the core mandate of the CDA.
Esteemed guests, permit me to emphasise that the CDA is the Government’s principal advisory body, established to advise government and the stakeholders to prevent and reduce the burden of alcohol and substance abuse, including the burden of diseases that are contributed by the use of these substances.
One of the many Government’s responses in this field of substance abuse, is the new National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) 2019 – 2024, which was approved by Cabinet in October 2019. This NDMP is tailored to address various challenges existing in the country. This document is a country’s blue – print and strategy for preventing and reducing alcohol and substance abuse and related social and economic consequences on the South African society.
Further, the NDMP advocates for collaborating, balanced and evidence- based approach interventions to inform our policies and programmes.
Ladies and gentlemen, the current NDMP 2019 – 2024 is influenced by several international and National Strategies, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016 Outcome Document, the sector drug master plans, the anti- Substance Abuse Programme of Action 2017 – 2019, the National Gangsterism Strategy, Draft Narcotics, Integrated Action Plan 2017 – 2019 to name a few. This attest that the NDMP is a living document and will be adapted as new information emerges.
It is important to mention that the legislative reforms such as the review of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, Act 70 of 2008 and other documents provide us with the necessary update. These reforms involve banning of alcohol advertisement, increasing tax on alcohol, increasing the age of alcohol consumption, and zero tolerance to drunk driving. The review of legislations as per the ConCourt Judgement on cannabis also influenced the use of cannabis in the country. All these reforms require expert input from the CDA.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Your diverse backgrounds, expertise and experiences in the field of law enforcement, medicine, and community mobilisation must help us improve to strengthen and scale up of our interventions especially in areas where there is a high need. This will help to ensure that the CDA continues to provide Government with a clear roadmap to confront the challenges posed by alcohol and substance abuse.
We have noted some of the concerns raised regarding the functioning of the CDA, and I want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to provide effective and efficient support to ensure that this entity can focus on its core mandate.
We must act with determination to root out this challenge by focusing more on primary prevention efforts especially at community level. If we are to stop this scourge, we have to start by educating young people. If ever there was time to educate our young people and our communities about the dangers of alcohol and drugs that time is now. Let us build more resilience and protective factors among the youth.
One of the key mandates of the CDA is to support the Provincial Substance Abuse Forums at Provincial level and the Local Drug Action Committees at Municipal level as a way to enhance existing community initiatives with specific knowledge and skills to manage their own prevention work at grassroots level. As members of the CDA, you are expected to:
- Provide advice on emerging trends in alcohol and substance abuse
- Advise on effective, research and evidence-based prevention programmes
- Develop partnerships with community organisations to develop effective prevention responses
- Build a strong coordination mechanism to fight the scourge of substance abuse
- Promote buy-in of leadership in various Government spheres – Local, Provincial and National.
- CDA must hold relevant Departments and leadership accountable on their fight against substance abuse
Your membership of the CDA Board puts you in a unique and better position of working not only with social sector, but also in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, health sector and the community sector to identify and address the complex challenges of alcohol and substance abuse. This new term provides us with the opportunity to consolidate work already underway in key focus areas of Demand reduction, Supply reduction and Harm reduction of substance abuse, as well as ensuring that the seven goals of the National Drug Master Plan 2019 - 2024 and Principles are implemented.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the new members of the CDA on their appointment. We all know the road ahead is not an easy one. However, history has taught us that when we join forces and pool our skills and resources, we can successfully meet the challenges of our time.
I am hopeful that the new members of the board for the Central Drug Authority will take up the challenge of achieving a National Drug Master Plan vision of South Africa free of substance abuse with vigour and determination.
I thank you for your attention.