Message of Support by Deputy Minister Thembi Nkadimeng at the Commemoration of the International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking
Lavender hill, Western Cape
26 June 2022
The Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu
Representatives of the
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Thank you for inviting us to this commemoration of the International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. Our gathering brings to life the goal we have set for ourselves as a country, and as a member of worldwide society, – that is, to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.
Unfortunately, our nation has turned into a drug manufacturing, transit, and consumer nation. Alcohol continues to be the psychoactive substance that is most frequently abused in our nation, however other drugs including nyaope/woonga, methamphetamine (tik), cocaine and heroin are also taken, regrettably frequently by our children and teenagers.
Our country is vulnerable and is seen as an ideal arena for the illicit drug trade, because of transportation infrastructures, modern international telecommunication and banking systems. Unfortunately, drug trafficking syndicates are increasingly targeting South Africans to smuggle drugs, knowingly or unknowingly, between countries.
The scourge of substance abuse is a real threat to the sustainable livelihoods of our communities and has the potential to undermine developmental efforts that are articulated in the National Development Plan. Socio-economic factors such as poverty, inequality, and unemployment remain key contributing elements to the increased use of drugs and the development of substance use disorders.
Therefore, our gathering is important as we are here to support the call by government and all other stakeholders and spread the word about the perils of drug usage and how it continues to rip apart our communities and the social fabric of our society.
We are today here to reaffirm our commitment to step up the fight against all the social ills of society including crime, gangsterism, Gender-Based Violence, teenage pregnancy, school drop-outs and transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV and other chronic diseases
Drug misuse and illegal trafficking cannot be exclusively the responsibility of the government. All levels of government and society must be actively involved if we are to succeed. We as the government, parents, families, faith-based communities, labour, business, community-based, and NGO’s can work together as part of the District Development Model (DDM) to ensure a drug-free society that is safe for everyone.
The DDM, provides a method by which all three spheres of government and communities can work in unison in order to optimise impact, wherein there is a culture of community activism and public accountability for coherent and effective service delivery.
Anchored on the fundamental principles of the DDM as an all-of-government and society approach, let us forge effective partnerships with all sectors of society in mobilising communities behind the vision of a drug-free society and put education and awareness programmes at the centre of our strategies.
As the local government sector, we acknowledge our responsibility to act as a key partner in the war on drugs in our localities. Our responsibility is derived from policy instruments such as the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act (Act 20 of 1992) and the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act 70 of 2008), which provide for the establishment of programmes for the prevention and treatment of drug dependency.
We support work done in terms of implementing the National Drug Master Plan with a particular emphasis for us being the attainment of Goal 5 – which is to promote governance, leadership, and accountability for a coordinated multi-sectoral effective response.
We wish to take this opportunity and appreciate the work done by Provincial Substance Abuse Forums (PSAF) and Local Drug Action Committees (LDAC). They continue to, as required by the National Drug Master Plan, develop local Drug Master Plans and implement them.
We acknowledge the challenges in relation to some municipalities implementing the Drug Master Plans, these include the lack of coordinated programmes and the lack of both human and financial resources dedicated to substance abuse issues. We continue to support them in implementing plans to ride our societies of drugs.
The success to fight the issue of substance abuse in our country depends on the continued support of the government, communities, and the business sector to provide the necessary resources, infrastructure, and accountability.
Minister Zulu, we are here to support all efforts to root out this challenge and to urge all parties involved to prioritize prevention, especially at the local level. Let us all work together to educate our young people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
As a sector, let us cooperate with law enforcement agencies, the health sector and the community sector to identify and address the complex challenges of alcohol and substance abuse. For it is only through such partnership that we can win the fight against drugs and illicit trafficking.
I thank you.