The Central Drug Authority (CDA) presented its Annual Report and business plan for the year 2014/2015 to the Committee, concentrating on the main slides only, at the request of the Committee, so as to leave more time for discussion. The CDA was established in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act 70 of 2008. Its operations took place in all three spheres - at National level, as CDA, at Provincial level as Provincial Substance Abuse Forum, and Municipal level as Local Drug Action Committee. CDA consisted of officials at a rank of a Director or equivalent, drawn from numerous government departments, who had responsibility and expertise in drug and substance abuse issues. Essentially, as was stressed later in the question time, CDA was not an implementing, but a supervisory authority. Its range of powers and duties were set out. Overall, it must oversee and monitor the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP), and make recommendations to Cabinet for the necessary amendments every five years. It must encourage government departments and private institutions to compile plans to address substance abuse, in line with the goals of the National Drug Master Plan and to ensure that each relevant organ of state had its own performance indicators to facilitate measures to combat the use of substances, also in line with the provincial and local plans.
The CDA compared the drug scene, in terms of supply and usage, between South Africa and the rest of the world, citing the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime statistics. South Africa had high levels of substance abuse, alcohol abuse and around 50 per 1000 children entering school were shown to suffer from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. Around 1 in every 18 people who requested treatment got access to such treatment. The preferred drugs were also set out, with comparisons to the rest of the world. The NDMP 2013/17 had three pillars - reducing demand, supply and harm. The actual implementation was done with the support of select government departments which played specialised roles. CDA also highlighted the challenges it faced in execution of its functions at municipal, provincial and National Level, which included inadequate dedicated people to deal with substance abuse in some municipalities and limited human and financial resources. To address the challenges, remedial action had been developed in conjunction with the Department of Social Development, which included strengthening the operational structure of CDA at all levels, allocating more resources to CDA and its structures, conducting a comprehensive baseline study and strengthening preventive measures to combat substance abuse.
CDA highlighted its business plan for 2014/2015 which was divided into activities which involved overseeing of the implementation of NDMP by 9 provinces and 17 departments, budgeted at R609 000, technical support to CDA board, budgeted at R500 000, development of comprehensive (baseline) data on substance abuse in South Africa, budgeted at R1 100 000, and a five-year marketing strategy of CDA budgeted at R300 000.
Members were pleased with the detailed presentation addressing most of the areas which had been raised in previous engagements. They asked if there were loopholes in the law on supply of drugs, pointed to specific problems over borderlines in some provinces, and asked what specific programmes might be planned to address the problem of foetal alcohol syndrome, including programmes for pregnant women and families in certain areas, and perhaps restricting sales of alcohol to pregnant women. They were sympathetic of the problems faced, but stressed also that Parliament and individual Members could play a greater part in promoting the organisation and its aims. Members were worried that CDA did not have a structural framework at its levels of operation, and expressed concern about municipalities' inability to implement the National Drug Master Plan. There was a proposal that CDA should become an independent entity with its own budget. They stressed the need to conduct a national baseline survey to assess the drug abuse problem in the country and the effectiveness of the current initiatives. The Department of Social Development responded on some of the initiatives being taken within that department also.
Chairperson's opening remarks
The Chairperson noted the apologies of the Director General, the Minister and Deputy Minister of Social Development.
She highlighted that the Central Drug Authority (CDA or the Authority) had a special role and requested Members to pay particular attention to its structural set-up, sp that Members were awwere that it was not within the Department of Social Development (DSD or the Department) itslef. She wanted Members, however, to be awwere of matters such as the availability of the entity and its footprints in the areas where it operated, how it wase financed, and the way it reported back, so that the Committee was able to understand the entity’s role and linkages to the Department.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) proposed that CDA should not go into details of its presentation, since the document had been received by Members the previous Friday, and she would rather have more time for verbal engagement with the entity.
Her proposal was accepted and the Chairperson asked that CDA make a short presentation.
Central Drug Authority (CDA): 2013/14 Annual Report and Business Plan: briefing
Mr David Bayever, Deputy Chairperson, Central Drug Authority, said the current CDA was established in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act 70 of 2008. CDA operated under three spheres, at national level as CDA, at provincial level as Provincial Substance Abuse Forum and Municipal level as Local Drug Action Committee. CDA consisted of officials holding the rank of a Director or equivalent in the Department of Social Development, Health, Basic Education, Higher Education and Training, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, South African Revenue Services, Correctional Services, Labour, National Treasury, Arts and Culture, Sports and Recreation South Africa, Agriculture, Transport, Provincial and Local Government, Youth Development Agency, Medicines Control Council, National Prosecuting Authority and 13 other experts in the management of the demand and supply of substances.
He explained that the Authority had a range of powers and duties which required it, amongst others, to:
- oversee and monitor the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP)
- facilitate and encourage the coordination of strategic projects
- facilitate the rationalisation of existing resources and monitor their effective use
- encourage government departments and private institutions to compile plans to address substance abuse in line with the goals of the NDMP
- ensure that each department of the state had its own performance indicators
- facilitate the initiation and promotion of measures to combat the use of substances
- ensure the establishment and mantainance of information systems which will support the implementation, evaluation and ongoing development of the NDMP
- ensure development of effective strategies on prevention, early intervention, reintergration and aftercwere services
- ensure the development of effective strategies regarding HIV infection and other medical consequences related to substance abuse
- advise government on policies and programmes in the field of substance abuse and drug trafficking
- recommend to Cabinet the review of the National Drug Master Plan every five years
- organise a biennial summit on substance abuse to enable role players in the field of substance abuse to come together.
He highlighted the functions of the provincial Substance Abuse Forums, which were to strengthen member organisations to carry out functions related directly or indirectly to addressing the problem of substance abuse, and encourage networking and effective flow of information between members. These forums would also assist the local Drug Action Committee in the performance of its functions. They would compile and submit a Mini Drug Master Plan for the province where they had been established, and assist CDA in carrying out its functions at provincial level. At municipal level there were Local Drug Action Committees (LDAC), whose prime function was to give effect to the Drug Master Plan, in their own municipality, and compiling action plans to combat substance abuse in the relevant municipality, in cooperation with provincial and local government, as well as providing other information required by the CDA.
In addition to the other functions mentioned earlier, he noted that CDA must request responsible government departments and Provincial Substance Abuse Forum to submit annual reports as may be required. To assist in the compliance with implementation of the NDMP, by various government departments, entities and stakeholders, the CDA may request Cabinet, through the Minister, to intervene in cases where government departments or entities did not comply with the requirements set out the National Drug Master Plan. CDA must develop systems and monitoring mechanisms to ensure implementation of the Master Plan.
Mr Bayever compared the drug scene in South Africa with the global rating as per the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2014. This indicated that canabis use was 7.5% in South Africa compared to a world scene of 3.8%, ATS at 0.9% in South Africa as compared to 0.7% on the world scene, cocaine at 0.4% in South Africa compared to 0.4% on the world scene, Opioids at 0.3 compared to 0.7% on the w" world scene, and Opiates at 0.3 % compared to 0.4% on the world scene. The substance abuse in South Africa figures (see attached presentation) showed that problem drug users in 2010, 1.97million citizens were problem alcohol uses, and about 50 per 1000 school–entry children had Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASD). As far as the reported "drug of choice" was concerned, between 11.2% (Western Cape) and 50.2% (Limpopo/Mpumalanga) of patients reported cocaine as their drug of choice; between 1. 9% (Western Cape) and 20.1% (Eastern Cape) reported cocaine as their primary drug of abuse; and between 0. 3% (Free State, Northern Cape, and North West) and 29.5% (KwaZulu Natal) reported heroin as their primary drug of abuse. One in 18 people requesting treatment did get access to treatment.
South Africa’s response to substance use under the National Drug Master Plan Review for 2013-17 has been informed by community needs. These included emphasising better parenting skills and competencies, recreation facilities and opportunities, tavern closure, law enforcement to reduce threat, reducing availability of all drugs, education and awareness, availing more treatment, job opportunities and reduction of poverty.
The NDMP 2013/17 had three pillars:
- Demand reduction which entailed controlling the distribution of and access to raw drugs and precursor materials, seizure and destruction of precusor materials, raw materials and distribution facilities, taking legal action on the use, abuse manufacturing and trafficking of drugs.
- Supply reduction which entailed preventing the onset, use, abuse and dependence on drugs through prevention and early intervention programmes and services
- Harm reduction which entailed limiting the damage caused to individuals and communities who had succumbed to substance abuse through treatment, reintergration and aftercare.
These pillars were implemented by CDA with the support of selected government departments that played specialised roles.
Mr Bayever then set out the challenges faced by CDA in execution of its functions at municipal, provincial and National Level. These included:
- No dedicated people to deal with substance abuse in some municipalities
- No budget dedicated for substance abuse matters in some municipalities
- Some muncipalities not implementing the National Drug Master Plan
- Programmes in Municipalities were not coordinated
- Limited human and financial resources
- Unsustained LDACs
- Lack of monitoring and evaluation of structures
- Poor representation in the Provincial Substance Forum by government departments
- Outdated and inaccuate baselines
- The fact that generally, substance abuse was on the rise
- Limited resources for CDA
The Department of Social Development had developed remedial action to address these challenges, which included strengthening operational structures of CDA at all levels, allocating more resources to CDA for all its structures, conducting a comprehensive baseline study, developing preventative measures to combat substance abuse, and elevating non-reporting by departments to the inter-Ministerial Committee.
Mr Bayever highlighted aspects of the business plan for 2014/2015, which he divided into activities. Activity 1 entailed overseeing of the implementation of NDMP by 9 provinces and 17 departments budgeted at R609 000. Activity 2 entailed technical support to CDA Board tendered, and for this there was a budget of R500 000. Activity 3 entailed development of comprehensive (baseline) data on substance abuse in South Africa, budgeted at R1 100 000. Activity 4 entailed a five-year marketing strategy of CDA, which was budgeted at R300 000.
Ms S Kopane (DA) asked for clarification on the budget figures.
Ms K De Kock (DA) asked CDA why it took so long to establish proper baseline information. She was concerned about the percentage of children with FASD, which in turn highlighted the number of women and families who were drinking heavily, and she asked if there was any special programme to cater for this aspect. She said that municipalities did not show sufficient capacity to implement the policies for drug rehabilitation and fighting drug abuse. She asked whether CDA had an interim plan to remove responsibilities from municipalities and put them in one place, and to make one person responsible for implementing of the NDMP. She also wanted to know whether CDA received money from any other Department, apart from the Department of Social Development.
The Chairperson asked Members to bear in mind, while asking questions, that CDA was a multi-disciplinary entity with no central office as such. CDA was just an authority, so Members should focus on its responsibilities, identify weaknesses and make recommendations.
Ms SP Tsoleli (ANC) thanked CDA for the detailed presentation and sympathised with it on the challenges faced, which clearly made its work more difficult. She recommended that the Committee take action also to correct the outstanding challenges, especially the problems of municipalities. She pointed out that in future engagements, CDA needed to be more specific on which municipalities were facing challenges. She asked about the interaction and links between CDA and Love life. She said the people in various departments in charge of special programmes should be involved with CDA activities; for example the Departments of Education She said since the country was struggling with the problem of supply of drugs, the CDA should give the Committee an insight on the legal position in this regard.
Mr S Mabilo (ANC) said he was more concerned about the Local Drug Action Committee structure at local levels. He noted the shortage of budget, but stressed that it would be worthwhile and necessary to strengthen coordination at local level, because most areas with gun violence were associated with drug abuse, and good coordination could address both. He also agreed with the need to strengthen programmes relating to FASD. Alcohol should not be sold to pregnant women, and this message should go to the family. All organs of civil society should be involved, including churches. He encouraged Members to be optimistic that the problem could be solved - as it had been with the smoking in public places campaign which was launched by a former Minister of Health. He further congratulated CDA on its success stories.
Ms H Malgas (ANC) said that in her constituency, there was research being carried on FASD although no results had come out yet, but there was hope that something would come out of the research. She added that drugs and gangsterism went hand in hand and this was a major concern, especially in the northern areas.
Ms E Wilson (ANC) said she cames from a very disturbed area in Limpopo, with three borders and a big drug problem. She said each Member of the Committee had a responsibility to go to their provinces, to ensure compliance with the strategies in place to fight drug abuse. Speaking to the position of loveLife, she expressed concern, arising from the oversight meeting the Committee had held with this entity in the last week, that it had sidestepped its mandate of fighting HIV and turned into a recruitment and an exchange agency for students. She sought clarification on the 2013/14 and 2014/15 figures in the business plan.
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) welcomed the report, and said she was from Soweto, which was affected by drug abuse. She proposed that CDA should be made into an independent entity with a structure and a budget in order to effectively implement its mandate of fighting substance abuse. She said the issue of drugs could be championed the same way as the fight against HIV was being championed. She proposed that strategies should be formulated to curtail supply of drugs, because as long as there was a constant supply, attempts to address the problem would be futile.
Ms Connie Nxumalo, Deputy Director General: Welfwere Services, Department of Social Development responded to the questions. Substance abuse was not only complicated but it was a global challenge, not just a problem in South Africa. She said South Africa needed to re-think how best the scourge could be fought in the country. There were some initiatives currently, but there were some weaknesses that needed to be identified. She agreed there was no baseline information at the moment and added that a baseline survey for the country was needed so that the authorities were able to measure if they were making a difference. CDA was planning to conduct a comprehensive baseline study next year.
On the issue of a regulatory framework around alcohol, she said this included access, supply, consumption, production and content of the alcohol. The problem of regulating alcohol needed to be broadly looked at.
She admitted that CDA was struggling with the liaison of municipalities, but emphasised that CDA itself was not expected to implement the activities, but rather to find a coordinating structure to work with the municipalities. There was a need to assess whether the municipalities were working on the problems, and, if not, a way forward had to be formulated. She also agreed that there was a need to correct structural arrangements in the provinces, but pointed out that the bigger challenge lay in coordinating government departments at provincial level.
On the question of finances, she said that CDA only got its budget from the Department of Social Development, and not directly from National Treasury. not directly from treasury. The Department's allocation was specifically to fund the personnel and operations of CDA, such as attending meetings and other activities, and not to deliver services.
Regarding CDA’s relationship with loveLife, Ms Nxumalo explained that whilst CDA was established under the relevant legislation, loveLife was an organisation. She added that no concrete relationship had been forged but it was something that needed to be looked into, and she would ensure that ongoing discussions on the issue came up with results.
The Chairperson said the committee members had not identified how much power they had to remedy the problem at hand. She reminded the Members that the Committee was an extension of Parliament. She proposed that the Committee organise a workshop at Parliament on behalf of CDA, to which SALGA, political and religious leaders should be invited. In addition, she believed there was a need to establish a national drug central office where CDA and its constituent spheres could operate and merge. She added that universities and academia could be brought on board to write discussion papers on how the issue could be tackled.
Adoption of minutes
Minutes of the Committee meetings on 29 October and 5 November were adopted.
The Committee noted that an oversight visit to Limpopo had been scheduled to take place in the next week.
The meeting was adjourned.