On the third day of interviews, the Committee interviewed six candidates for the Central Drug Authority (CDA) Board. These were conducted in person by a sub-committee of the Social Development Portfolio Committee. Candidates flew in from different provinces and were all asked the same questions.
Members asked about their background; the role the candidate would play on the CDA Board; what the Act that established the CDA sought to achieve; whether the CDA was performing its mandate effectively – its shortcomings and how those shortcomings could be addressed; objectives of the 2019 - 2024 National Drug Master Plan and how the CDA could achieve them; key findings and recommendations of the 2013-2017 National Drug Master Plan implementation evaluation; ensuring good governance was upheld by the Board; key challenges affecting the youth, families and communities regarding substance abuse and how best government can address these; the state of public rehabilitation centres; the role of CDA in collecting comprehensive statistics; views on decriminalisation of marijuana; and advice to government on the ban of the sale of alcohol during a pandemic.
Central Drug Authority Board interviews
The Committee interviewed the following candidates in person:
Mr Peter Ucko
Ms Alexandrina Vermeulen
Ms Elna Mathonsi
Ms Jane Thema
Ms Sophia Maboe
Rev Mlahleki Sokana
The Chairperson asked the candidate to briefly tell the Members about him or herself, why he or she wanted to commit time and energy to serve on the CDA Board and what he or she would like to accomplish if appointed.
Ms B Masango (DA) said the Central Drug Authority was established by an Act of Parliament. Which Act is that and what does it seek to achieve?
Ms Masango asked in your assessment, do you think that the CDA performs its mandate effectively or efficiently; if yes, how so? If not, what are the shortcomings? In your response you can highlight both with regards to its mandate in ensuring compliance, accountability, monitoring and development as well as the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan by national departments and provincial forums. How are you proposing to address these shortcomings?
Ms L Arries (EFF) said the National Drug Master Plan 2019-2024 represents a multi-sectoral approach to create South Africa free from harm associated with drug use, misuse and abuse. The Plan observed national and international policies, plans and conventions that ensure respect and dignity for all people in South Africa. If you are appointed as a Board Member, you will be expected to implement the Authority’s mandate – share with us your understanding of the objectives of the National Drug Master Plan 2019-2024 and how you think the CDA should achieve them?
Ms Arries said that, prior to the review of the National Drug Master Plan 2013-2017, a need to conduct an evaluation was prioritised to assess how it was implemented. Subsequently, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation commissioned the evaluation of the National Drug Master Plan 2013-2017 implementation, in partnership with the Department of Social Development. The evaluation took place in August 2015 - January 2016. What were the key findings and recommendations of the evaluation of the National Drug Master Plan 2013-2017 implementation?
Mr L Stock (ANC) asked how the candidate would ensure good governance is practiced by the Board if appointed.
Ms D Christians (DA) asked about the key issues affecting young people, their families and communities regarding substance abuse and how the candidate would advise government to deal with these.
Ms A Maleka (ANC) wanted to know how the candidate felt about the state of public rehabilitation centres in the country. In addition, are there challenges with access to public rehabilitation centres in South Africa? If so, what are those challenges and how would you advise the country to address those?
Ms Arries said that one of the challenges facing the country is the lack of comprehensive statistics on the prevalence of substance abuse. How can the CDA play a role in this regard?
Ms M Gillion (ANC) asked about the candidate's views on the Constitutional Court ruling on the decriminalisation of marijuana.
Alternatively, if the candidate had already expressed a view, she asked: You spoke about the legalisation of marijuana. If appointed to the CDA Board, what will you do if the view of the board on the personal use of this drug is overruling your view?
Ms Gillion said during the Covid-19 lockdown regulations were introduced by government, which led to the ban of the sale of alcohol and tobacco. How would you advice government to deal with the sale of alcohol during a pandemic in the future?
The Chairperson thanked the candidate for participating in this process and showing interest.
Meeting concluding remarks
The Chairperson thanked Members for their participation and announced that the Committee would meet next week to finalise the process.
The meeting was adjourned.
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