The Committee Secretary tabled and took Members through the draft Committee Report (the Report) on the Central Drug Authority (CDA) Annual Report for 2011/12. The Report highlighted the composition, role and function of the CDA, and its role to ensure effective liaison between the provincial substance abuse forums and Local Drug Action Committees. The CDA had outlined the targets to the Committee, and described its achievement against them, and this too was set out in the Report. The role of other departments in supporting the anti-substance abuse programmes and plans was also set out fully. Finally, the challenges were described. These included the fact that the impact of the CDA and the National Drug Master Plan on the quality of life of communities in South Africa was yet to be measured. Departmental Drug Master Plans and reports from the national and provincial departments responsible for drug abuse counteraction were still not being submitted on time. The provincial substance abuse forums had to be put on both the public and political agenda of the provinces. Local drug-action committees (LDACs) still had to be established in all 238 municipal areas in order to combat substance abuse at local level. There was a shortage of public treatment centres. The Report then set out the Committee’s observations and made a number of recommendations. The main concern was that the National Drug Master Plan had still not been approved and the CDA was asked to attend urgently to this issue, and must prioritise impact assessments of its programmes. The Department of Social Development, its provincial departments and stakeholders were requested to take all necessary measures to ensure that the state funded rehabilitation centres were established in all provinces, and that existing centres were monitored. The Report was adopted, without any amendments.
A Private Members’ Bill with proposals for amendments to sections of the Children’s Act dealing with the Child Register had been tabled and the Department of Justice had commented on it earlier. The Member proposing the amendments urged the Committee to pass a motion of desirability saying that the present shortcomings in the Child Register posed serious risk to children. However, the majority of Members were opposed to piecemeal changes to the Act, and suggested rather that the Department of Social Development undertake a full investigation into a number of issues so that the Act could be amended substantially in the next Parliament.
The Minutes of 24 July and 13 August were adopted
Central Drug Authority 2011/12 Annual Report: Committee’s draft report
Ms Lindiwe Ntsabo, Portfolio Committee Secretary, tabled and took Members through the draft Report of the Committee (the Report) on the Central Drug Authority (CDA) Annual Report 2011/12, and explained that this Report was drafted as part of the Committee mandate of oversight. This Report outlined some of the key achievements and challenges described by the CDA in meeting its set strategic objectives, and also highlighted some of the observations made by the Committee.
The Central Drug Authority was a statutory body established in terms of the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act. Its composition and functions were outlined. (see attached Report for details). Overall, CDA was to ensure that there was measurable reduction in substance abuse, which would also reduce related social ills such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, sex work and crime. It should ensure that there was improved quality of life through integrated Departmental and Provincial Drug Master Plan and reports.
The CDA had a number of targets that it wanted to achieve during the year under review 2011/2012, and the reporting against those targets was set out in the Report. In particular, the Report noted:
- finalisation of an updated National Drug Master Plan 2013-2017
- improvement of access to substance abuse information and effective intervention.
- establishment of a functional national clearinghouse
- updating of resource development
- reaching of 14 871 people through the helpline and 31 078 through the SMS line
- capacity building workshops
- policy and legislation.
The contribution of other departments was also described. The Department of Health drafted the legislation on alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion, and finalised the detoxification policy. The Department of Social Development finalised and gazetted the regulations of the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Act No 70 of 2008. The Department of Home Affairs developed an integrated policy and drafted guidelines for combating substance abuse. The Department of Health implemented the Departmental Drug Master Plan and the moral regeneration programme of the Department of Community Safety, as also screening of TB patients for alcohol disorders. The Department of Correctional Services reached 119 468 inmates, and 7 290 youth were enrolled in the programme. Through the life skills programme, the Department of Basic Education reached 105 231 learners, and developed a national strategy for prevention and management of substance abuse in learners. The Department of Social Development developed an integrated Anti Substance Abuse Programme of action and evaluated the Ke Moja programme. A monitoring and assessment tool for substance abuse was developed and a community based model was implemented in all the provinces. A treatment model and outpatient services were developed. The Department of Sports and Recreation implemented an anti-doping programme, and instituted a registered testing pool programme in schools. The South African Police Services conducted 52 940 inspections on liquor premises, 27 416 illegal premises were closed, and over a million litres of illegal liquor were confiscated. The Department of Trade and Industry conducted investigations and inspections. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development implemented a Departmental Drug Master Plan and established drug courts.
The achievements of provincial substance abuse forums were outlined, and a brief outline of the programmes in the provinces had been given. Statistics were set out in the Report. The provinces’ descriptions of activities and achievements to reduce harm caused by legal and illicit substance were also described. The challenges were also outlined. These included the fact that the impact of the CDA and the National Drug Master Plan on the quality of life of communities in South Africa was yet to be measured. Departmental Drug Master Plans and reports from the national and provincial departments responsible for drug abuse counteraction were still not being submitted on time. The provincial substance abuse forums had to be put on both the public and political agenda of the provinces. Local drug-action committees (LDACs) still had to be established in all 238 municipal areas in order to combat substance abuse at local level. There was a shortage of public treatment centres to deal to deal with a large number of people who are addicted to harmful substances.
The Observations section of the Report was read out in full by the Committee Secretary. The Committee expressed dissatisfaction over CDA’S late submission of its annual report over the past two years, and emphasised that it should comply with deadlines. It was concerned at the lack of support and reporting by government Departments and other agencies such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), which were responsible to CDA for the fight against substance abuse to the CDA. They noted that this lack of support was the main reason why CDA did not meet its deadline for its own Annual Report. The Committee was concerned also at the shortage of rehabilitation centres in the country and the inadequate assessment of exiting centres, particularly in view of the prevalence of substance abuse. It recommended that necessary measures be taken to establish state funded rehabilitation centres in all provinces. It noted the explanation provided by the CDA that the delays the finalisation of the cannabis paper which had been due to the ever changing ingredients used to manufacture this drug, which made it difficult for scientists to develop an appropriate therapeutic treatment
The Committee also felt that the revised National Drug Master Plan should have been approved a long time ago, because the lack of a plan made it difficult for stakeholders in the sector to operate. The Committee felt that the Ke Moja programme was not optimally implemented in schools, and said it was critical that it must be rolled out. It requested the draft Assessment report on the Ke Moja programme. The Committee noted the vital and significant role played by the faith based organisations in the fight against substance abuse. Finally, the Committee expressed its dissatisfaction with the content and structure of the Annual Report of the CDA and lack of explanation on the figures.
The Recommendations section of the Report contained the following:
- The Committee resolved to conduct oversight visits to the provinces, to assess provincial programmes and their performance. The Committee Secretary noted that this had already been done, as the committee had visited Gauteng Province
- The National Drug Master Plan must be tabled to Cabinet for finalisation as a matter of urgency
- The Department of Social Development (DSD) must expand the anti-substance abuse model it used in Eldorado Park to other communities
- The CDA must address any challenges or obstacles that had resulted in minimum involvement of faith based organisations in the CDA programmes
- CDA should prioritise the impact assessment of its programmes in provinces, which was critical
- DSD and SAPS were asked to make a joint presentation to the Committee on their strategies to fight crime
CDA must develop a standardised reporting template for the provinces, to improve reporting in the Annual Report
- CDA must provide the Committee with a copy of the report on the special project conducted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to determine the link between HIV and substance abuse in schools
- DSD, together with provincial departments and stakeholders, must take measures to ensure that the state-funded rehabilitation centres were established in all provinces, and that monitoring and evaluations were conducted in the existing centres.
Members were satisfied with, and adopted this Report.
Private Members’ Amendments proposed to the Children’s Act
The Chairperson said that Members had been briefed in the previous week by the Department of Justice and Social Development on the Private Members’ proposal to amend the Children’s Act. The Committee would have to pass a motion of desirability if it felt that the Private Member’s Bill should move forward.
Mr V Magagula (ANC) thought the Departments should be given a chance to study matters holistically. He did not think there was any point in amending only one clause and proposed that the Committee not proceed with the Bill at this time, but think more broadly on what amendments were needed to the whole Act.
Ms M Mafolo (ANC) apologised that she had not been able to attend last week’s meeting but agreed that it made more sense to take a holistic approach. She also said that public hearings were needed to inform people on the ground.
Mr M Waters (DA) said that members were conflating two different issues. This Bill presented the Committee with the opportunity to do something now to amend section 120, and address the problems with the Child Register, which were endangering the lives of children. He pointed out that otherwise, Parliament would have to wait until after the next election.
Ms F Khumalo (ANC) also thought that piecemeal amendment was undesirable.
Ms P Xaba (ANC) agreed that the Committee should wait until the Department proposed other amendments.
Ms N Gcume (ANC) agreed with this view but suggested that the Department of Social Development be given a timeframe to submit the amendments.
Mr Waters asked that a vote be taken. One Member voted in favour of adopting a motion of desirability and six against.
The minutes of meetings held on 24 July and 13 August were adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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