The Central Drug Authority (CDA) acknowledged the delay in presenting the 2013/14 Annual Report, as well as the 2013-2017 National Drug Master Plan (NDMP). Substance abuse trends in South Africa showed the highest prevalence among users of cannabis, amphetamines (because of “Tik”) and heroin (because of “Nyaope”). The targets for the 2012/13 financial year were to ensure the approval of the 2013-2017 NDMP and to improve access to information, interventions and treatment. Other targets were the reduced demand for and supply of illicit substances and to reduce the harm and social ills associated with substance abuse. The CDA wanted to conduct a national household survey on substance use and abuse and to strengthen the capacity of CDA’s support structures with regard to the implementation of the NDMP 2013-2017.
In terms of supply reduction 259.25 kg of cannabis were confiscated in correctional facilities and the South African Police Services (SAPS) closed down 74 547 illegal liquor premises. SAPS also seized drugs to the value of R12 832 150 and 68 478 of 68 552 drug related cases were finalised by Forensic Services. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) developed the National Liquor Policy with regulations, norm and standards to control liquor trading. On demand reduction, the Department of Basic Education (DBE), in partnership with SAPS, conducted drug testing and searches in schools and the government initiated preventative Ke moja programme were translated into lesson plans. The Department of Social Development (DSD) monitored the provision of treatment services at public treatment centres and treatment and reintegration aftercare models were developed and rolled out in provinces.
The CDA needed to be strengthened and some departments did not submit progress reports. A key challenge or CDA was a lack of departmental understanding of the mandate associated with substance abuse.
The Committee expressed concerns over the fact that the CDA had been struggling to submit their Annual Reports on time since as far back as 2006. The outdated statistics CDA used also concerned the Committee, because they did not give a true reflection of what the status of substance abuse in South Africa was. Members asked very detailed questions and the Chairperson suggested that perhaps the CDA should be afforded time to present a more comprehensive report to the Committee. The Committee noted that the Annual Report also contained no Annual Financial Statements and Ms E Wilson (DA) called a point of order on having the Annual Report noted without Annual Financial Statements.
The DSD explained that the CDA was not a listed entity and had no legal status that required governance structures and audited financial statements that could be tabled. It was a group of members whose secretariat was part of DSD. Money used by the CDA was not transferred to CDA; it was expenditure within the social services branch. Any work done by the CDA was documented and funded by DSD. The Auditor-General audited that expenditure as a sub-programme in the books of the DSD and it formed part of the Annual Financial Statements of DSD.
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting. She emphasised the importance of cooperation between government departments and stakeholders, especially in addressing serious social challenges such as drug and alcohol abuse.
Central Drug Authority 2012/13 Annual Report
The Central Drug Authority (CDA) Chairperson, Mr Mogotsi Kalaeamodimo, said the CDA was aware that it was supposed to have presented the 2013/14 Annual Report, as well as the 2013-2017 National Drug Master Plan (NDMP), earlier. The CDA was a non-implementing body comprised of 14 members of communities, 18 departments, three national entities, nine Provincial Substance Abuse Forums (PSAF) and 238 Local Drug Action Committees (LDAC). It facilitated and encouraged coordination of strategy projects and the rationalisation of existing resources and monitored their effective use. The CDA ensured government and provincial departments and LDACs compiled plans to address substance abuse in line with the NDMP. CDA also advised government on policies and programmes in the field of substance abuse and drug trafficking, and organised bi-annual summits on substance abuse.
Mr Kalaeamodimo gave an overview of substance abuse trends in South Africa and the highest prevalence among users was cannabis, amphetamines (because of “Tik”) and heroin (because of “Nyaope”). The targets for the 2012/13 financial year were to ensure the approval of the 2013-2017 NDMP and to improve access to information, interventions and treatment. Other targets were the reduced demand for and supply of illicit substances and to reduce the harm and social ills associated with substance abuse. The CDA wanted to conduct a national household survey on substance use and abuse and to strengthen the capacity of CDA’s support structures with regard to the implementation of the NDMP 2013-2017. After all the implementation was done, departments and entities were supposed to report to the CDA and only some of the departments handed in their reports. The information presented today was based on the reports CDA received.
Mr Kalaeamodimo summarised some of the achievements, which included the submission of the final draft of the 2013-2017NDMP 2013–2017, the investigation and pronunciation on the concoction “Nyaope”, and the contribution to the National Strategy for the Prevention and Management of Alcohol and Drug Use amongst Learners in Schools. In terms of supply reduction 259.25 kg of cannabis were confiscated in correctional facilities and the South African Police Services (SAPS) closed down 74 547 illegal liquor premises. SAPS also seized drugs to the value of R12 832 150 and 68 478 of 68 552 drug related cases were finalised by Forensic Services. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) developed the National Liquor Policy with regulations, norms and standards to control liquor trading. On demand reduction, the Department of Basic Education (DBE), in partnership with SAPS, conducted drug testing and searches in schools and the government initiated preventative Ke moja programme were translated into lesson plans. Correctional Services facilitated substance abuse treatment to 6 508 offenders and the Department of Sports and Recreation implemented the anti-doping programme in sporting codes. The Department of Social Development (DSD) developed and piloted the Social Mobilisation Strategy in Limpopo and Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Free State provinces were capacitated to implement the anti-substance abuse programme of action. On harm reduction, the Department of Health developed the Draft Detoxification guidelines and a risk/benefit assessment of meprobamate containing products was conducted. DSD monitored provision of treatment services at public treatment centres and a treatment and reintegration aftercare models were developed and rolled out in provinces.
Mr Kalaeamodimo gave an extensive overview of the demand, supply and harm reduction achievements of the provinces were and said the challenge for CDA and all associated entities and departments were the fact that substance abuse was on the rise. CDA needed to be strengthened and some departments did not submit progress reports. Another challenge was a lack of departmental understanding of the mandate associated with substance abuse. CDA recommended that the Committee noted the 2012/13 Annual Report and supported the implementation of the NDMP 2013-2017.
Ms S Kopane (DA) said the CDA had been struggling to submit their Annual Reports since as far back as 2006, and asked when the CDA would be presenting the 2013/14 Annual Report. Out of 18 government departments, only about 10 submitted their progress reports and she asked what would be done about that, because it was a long-term challenge. She asked the CDA to include a section in their report that explained the significance and impact of their achievements. She wanted to know if there was an action plan in place that would address the challenges, rather than just listing it. She also asked what happened with the household survey on substance abuse and what the CDA was doing about private treatment centres that were making a lot of money.
Ms E Wilson (DA) asked if the CDA was being funded by the DSD and whether any other government departments contributed any type of funding to CDA. It was problematic, because the CDA did not have a financial report and it was difficult to assess achievements without that. It was concerning to read in a report that ‘there was a lack of departmental understanding of the mandate associated with substance abuse’. If departments did not have an understanding of the role they were supposed to play, everything the CDA was doing would be ineffectual. There would be no implementation or monitoring from a departmental perspective and that was terribly concerning. She asked for an elaboration on how and to what degree people had been ‘capacitated’.
Ms B Abrahams (ANC) said she had a LDAC in her constituency that was working effectively. She asked where other LDACs were and if it had been rolled out in all the provinces. The department usually came out to train communities and NPO, how it was done if there was a lack of departmental understanding? She asked how the schools that did the ‘drug and crime free signage’ obtained and maintained that status. She asked where in Gauteng was the ward-based LDAC model developed and how many people in Gauteng had been reached through the Ke moja programme. She asked how drug testing in schools would be approached, because School Governing Boards and parents were notoriously problematic in that regard. She said marijuana abuse in Gauteng was a serious problem that needed to be addressed. How many of the 394 379 compliance inspections conducted at licensed liquor premises by SAPS, turned out to be illegal. She also wanted to know what the conviction rate was for finalised drug related cases, what sporting codes were included in the anti-doping programme, and if the Ke moja programme had been rolled out in all provinces.
The Chairperson said the CDA might not have all this information readily available.
Ms Abrahams said some of the questions could be addressed in writing.
The Chairperson said it might be better to schedule a follow-up meeting
Ms K De Kock (DA) was concerned that the CDA used outdated statistics in their Annual Report. Most of the statistics in the presentation were based on treatment centres, which was also not a true reflection of the problem because South Africa had so few treatment centres. The impact of the work of CDA would also not be accurately assessed because of the outdated statistics. She asked who was responsible for relevant and available statistics, whether the CDA could do their own study or if another government entity or agency could be mobilised to do a study on the extent of the drug problem in South Africa. She asked if the DSD could give an update on the Noupoort treatment facility in the Northern Cape where abuse of patients had been reported on.
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) said it was very disheartening to learn that departments did not submit their reports, which showed that they did not take the fight against drug abuse seriously. She asked DSD what would be done to hold departments accountable. “Nyaope” caused a lot of devastation among communities and she asked about the new drug called ‘Krokodil’ and what was being done before it did the same damage. She also asked whether the CDA had applied their minds on the Medical Innovation Bill to legalise marijuana for medical purposes.
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) said drug abuse caused devastation on so many levels and an Annual Report was supposed to inform Members on the status of the problem so as to inform the recommendations of the Committee. It was almost impossible to do that if the scope of the problem was not backed by current and relevant statistics. It was supposed to have given the Committee a picture of how each province was affected by particular drugs, how the initiated programmes affected the schools, and what specific programmes departments were running. She asked whether the targets were being met with the 238 LDACs. In terms of supply reduction and the 549 incidences of dagga in correctional facilities, was it a national number and did it included secure care facilities. She asked whether the 6 508 offenders that received substance abuse treatment covered all national correctional facilities. She also asked where in Limpopo the Social Mobilisation Strategy would be piloted and what NGOs were supporting the CDA in the fight against substance abuse.
The Chairperson said Members were continuing to ‘rewrite in the Annual Report’ in terms of the questions that were being asked. The CDA would answer the questions they could, but should also come for a follow-up meeting, before the presentation of the NDMP. The DSD should look into assisting the CDA in the research to be done to give the Committee a better understanding of the status of the problem.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) said the Committee had given other entities the opportunity to present a more detailed and comprehensive report and the same opportunity should be given to CDA. It would also give Members the necessary background to both the CDA and the challenges before the entity. There was no mention of ‘African brews’ in the report and the impact it had. She asked what kind of relationship CDA had with municipalities.
Mr S Mbilo (ANC) said this was a stakeholder sector and success depended on how well other stakeholders implemented the initiatives. In the next report CDA should also focus on how these programmes were coordinated and report on deficiencies in coordination. There might be few treatment centres, but the quality assurance aspect was equally as important. There was definite support for building and establishing more treatment centres, but the quality and effectiveness of these centres should be a priority. The achievements of CDA should be sustained and increased and a more people-centred approach should be followed where communities actively played roles in the changes they wanted to see.
The Chairperson expressed her regret that SAPS was not represented in the meeting because she would have liked to get their input on some reports that some members of SAPS themselves, and while on duty, abused substances. She reminded Members that CDA merely facilitated and coordinated programmes and she asked DSD to comment on the mandated role of CDA. The Committee would need to engage with the South African Local Government Agency (SALGA) to see whether they had the necessary forums in place to address the challenges in communities.
Ms Kopane suggested that departments that did not submit reports to the CDA should have a joint meeting with the Committee to account, because at this point the Committee was basically speculating on what the problem could be.
The Chairperson said she wanted DSD to comment first and the Committee would decide the way forward thereafter.
Mr Coceko Pakade, Director-General of Social Development, said substance abuse was a serious social challenge and government took that challenge very seriously. DSD was the key coordinating department and the Prevention and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act of 2008 was administered by the DSD. Coordinating was a difficult matter, but there was an agreement at Cabinet level that an inter-ministerial committee be established to look into this matter. There had been considerable improvement since then, because departments were now accounting directly to Cabinet, jointly. One recent area of focus was the issue of alcohol advertising, which resulted in a detailed programme of action that had also been presented to Cabinet. There was a value chain around what SAPS was doing, because if SAPS investigated illegal outlets or shebeens, it had to be followed up with convictions by the Department of Justice, and the Department of Trade and Industry dealt with the regulatory aspect of it. The compliance issue would be elevated and punitive measures for non-compliant departments would be investigated. DSD was allocated a conditional grant of R150 million for treatment centres and there had been a concerted effort to address this concern. CDA was an oversight body assisting DSD with coordination across the country, but DSD had to take the final responsibility.
Mr Kalaeamodimo said there had been efforts made over the last three years to get more funds for prevention and treatment and this time DSD had been successful in terms of the grant. Although the Department felt that prevention should be prioritised over treatment it, was decided by Treasury that in this instance treatment should be the priority. Recent legislation, proclaimed last year, prescribed the responsibilities of municipalities. It was difficult to reach metros due to lack of capacity; the secretariat was basically two people.
The Chairperson said it seemed there was a huge problem around the management of substance abuse. It was not the work of the Committee to receive and note reports, but the reports should enable the Committee to assess where the challenges were and to intervene. She suggested this report be received with the amendment that DSD would follow-up with the departments that did not report, and those departments needed to account to the Committee. SALGA had representatives in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and should cooperate and do what they were mandated to do. Everybody involved in these programmes should be ‘under one roof’ and given direction through workshops. The regulatory aspects needed to be reviewed; it should be a collective effort to include provinces, municipalities and communities. A second presentation to the Committee should be done to clarify all the concerns raised by the Members and thereafter the Committee would make recommendations.
Ms Wilson called a point of order and said the Annual Report could not be noted without the financials. CDA was now two financial years behind in submitting financials and the Committee needed to know why. She asked how much funding the CDA was getting from DSD and what it was used for.
The Chairperson said now DSD would give reasons why the financials were not there and the recommendation was to allow the CDA and DSD time to come back to the Committee with an improved report, including the financial report.
Ms Van der Merwe said the Committee had a full programme and asked for a specific time when CDA and DSD would come back to the Committee.
Mr Pakade said the CDA was not a listed entity and had no legal status that required governance structures and audited financial statements to be tabled. It was a group of members whose secretariat was part of DSD. Money used by the CDA was not transferred to CDA; it was expenditure within the social services branch. Any work done by the CDA was documented and funded by DSD. The Auditor-General audited that expenditure as a sub-programme in the books of DSD and it formed part of the Annual Financial Statements of DSD. Non-reporting was a definite problem with some departments, but perhaps this report should have been presented with the detailed programme of action as approved by Cabinet so that Members could get a sense of the commitments of other government departments. It would give an idea of what all the departments were doing.
The Chairperson said there was a previous request made to have a more detailed report that would also give the Committee some background to the work of CDA. The follow-up meeting would be scheduled with the Committee Secretary. She thanked everyone and the meeting was adjourned.