Central Drug Authority Annual Report 2021/22
09 November 2022
Chairperson: Ms N Mvana (ANC) (Acting)
The Central Drug Authority board was appointed on 1 April 2021 and this was its first annual report. The presentation covered the following topics: progress report on the Portfolio Committee previous recommendations; summary of its Annual Report; country situational analysis and current crisis of substance abuse; National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) implementation analysis; recommendations and the way forward.
Over the past 12 months various incidents of substance use and abuse were recorded throughout the country. CDA said it had responded swiftly in all hard-hit provinces calling for an integrated response as per NDMP 2019- 2024. The CDA requested the Portfolio Committee to facilitate the implementation of the cabinet decision on the reconfiguration and repositioning of the CDA; the urgent establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to Combat Substance Abuse that was dormant and the participation of the four departments that are neither participating nor accountable.
Committee members asked about the CDA not having teeth to deal with national departments that have not reported to it; lack of budget; functionality of the provincial substance abuse forums (PSAFs) and local drug action committees (LDACs); need for legislation reform; awareness campaigns in schools and higher education institutions; insufficient focus on nyaope; collaboration with non-governmental organisations; government and non-government treatment centres; need for a national survey and research; foetal alcohol syndrome; appointment of social workers; cross-border drug trafficking; and the proposed rehabilitation state farm in Gauteng.
Central Drug Authority 2021/22 Annual Report
Ms Nomcebo Dlamini, CDA Deputy Chairperson, explained that the on 1 April 2021, 27 members of the 4th CDA were appointed by the Minister of Social Development for a period of five years. Eleven of these are independent members of society recommended by this Portfolio Committee while the other 16 are representatives of national government departments. This Annual Report is the first one reflecting work performed by the 4th CDA Board. The last Annual Report noted that in reviewing the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) 2019–2024, measures were taken to incorporate the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session in April 2016, wherein countries were encouraged to treat substance use disorders (SUDs) like any other chronic disease. This report covers the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.. The report is drawn from reports received from various stakeholders, including departments, entities and stakeholders.
The CDA oversees and monitors the implementation of the 2019-2024. It facilitate and encourage the coordination of strategic projects encourage government departments and private institutions to compile plans to address substance abuse in line with the goals of the NDMP, facilitate the initiation and promotion of measures to combat the abuse of substances; advises Government on policies and programmes in the field of substance abuse and drug trafficking.
The CDA presentation covered the following topics: progress report on the Portfolio Committee previous recommendations; summary of its 2021/22 Annual Report; country situational analysis; NDMP implementation analysis; recommendations; current subtance abuse challenges and the way forward (see document).
Mr D Stock (ANC) expressed his appreciation for the work the CDA has been doing ever since they came into office. However, they should be encouraged to do more work throughout the provinces. The presentation noted the provincial substance abuse forums (PSAFs). There are still provinces that do not have the PSAF such as the Northern Cape and Limpopo. As a result of this, one would like to encourage the CDA board members to be more vigorous in ensuring that there is no province that has no provincial substance abuse forum. In the Northern Cape there are high levels of poverty, unemployment, and the abuse of alcohol and drugs is notably high. He would like the CDA to deal with this problem.
Mr Stock said that the CDA did not provide a summary of the financial report in the presentation. The budget allocation and expenditure are on page 50 of the Annual Report. Therefore, they should provide a summary of the actual expenditure. The budget they have is quite limited, but it will be important for the Portfolio Committee to get a sense of what is the expenditure of the CDA.
Mr Stock referred to the seven goals of the NDMP and noted goal seven where all national departments have not reported on this goal. It is a serious area of concern and the CDA should provide reasons put forward by the national departments for not reporting on this goal as part of the NDMP.
Ms B Masango (DA) thanked the CDA for the presentation and appreciated the energy with which the Deputy Chairperson exuded when presenting. She could not ignore the fact that each time the Deputy Chairperson reported on what they have done, she would say 'due to lack of capacity'. It seems they have so much they would like to do but cannot do because of lack of capacity. That was made worse because the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to Combat Substance Abuse that is supposed to be overseeing this work has still to be resuscitated. It does not sound good. There is now a new CDA board that is making the same pleas about capacity and budget. The Department's Acting Director General did mention that substance abuse is one of the huge pandemics in South Africa. Capacity should be given to the CDA to be able to do the work they have to do because there is so much substance abuse in the country.
Ms Masango was also interested to hear, if not from the Deputy Chairperson herself, then from the Acting Director General if there is an issue with the legislation governing the CDA that is causing all these challenges where there is an Authority that has no authority – because that is what is coming across. There is work to be done, people know what to do, but they have no budget, they have no secretariat capacity.
Ms Masango requested the Annual Performance Plan that the Deputy Chairperson said they have, made available to the Committee to see if it is done correctly. On the consequence management for the admins that are supposed to be submitting reports but are not doing that, what can be done? Ms Masango had two final requests. The first one is that when the Committee has its workshop it requested if CDA could be part of that. The second request was that when the CDA does its oversight visits if the Committee could be a part of some of those visits.
Ms G Opperman (DA) asked if there are any studies currently being done on the impact of foetal alcohol syndrome in the classroom and on teaching. She asked if they had managed to increase the number of social workers dealing with substance use disorders. And if not, why not? The CDA also agreed that the services are currently inadequate. She was interested to know what they propose as a way forward. How many Local Drug Action Committees (LDACs) were established for the period under review at local government level? In the Northern Cape what constraints are they experiencing that have prevented the establishment of the provincial substance abuse forum? She then asked about the legalisation of cannabis, how would it impact on communities that are living in poverty? And of the 94 treatment centres, how many are in the Northern Cape? And who is responsible to report on the NDMP in the Northern Cape.
Ms A Abrahams (DA) thanked the CDA Deputy Chairperson and her team for the presentation. She wanted confirmation if CDA is actively engaged in awareness campaigns in schools and higher education institutions, because time and time again learners are bringing drugs into schools. She spoke about the Nyaope cases in Gauteng. The media statement from the Gauteng Premier stated that they are going to have a state farm type facility for these substance abuse users particularly the youth. She asked if CDA had visited this farm, because the media statement indicated that intake will be done from 1 November 2022. She noted the two outstanding provinces that do not have the PSAF governance structure in place. However, of the seven provinces with a PSAF, five have not been assigned a human resources budget. It is concerning, for example, CDA reports that the Western Cape has not been allocated a human resources budget yet it does have a PSAF secretariat in place.
Ms Abrahams spoke to the Local Drug Action Committees (LDACs) that are not functional. On page 53 in the Annual Report, the Eastern Cape has 0 out of 13; Free State 2 out of 17; Gauteng is 0 out of 15; KwaZulu Natal is 4 out of 48; Limpopo is 1 out of 29; Mpumalanga is 0 of 18; Northern Cape 0 out of 26; Northwest 6 out of 19 and Western Cape is 9 out of 26.
Ms Abrahams said the presentation noted the vacant post of Chief Director: Substance Abuse. She asked how long this position has been vacant for and when will this position will be filled. It is quite concerning that the CDA states that there is no national research being done, especially there is a research unit in DSD and in the NDA. There are many stakeholders with research units such as the MRC. Why is no research is being done when all these government entities can do in-house research?
Ms P Marais (EFF) thanked the CDA for their presentation. There is such a big problem in communities when it comes to drugs. The drug problem is also the reason there is a high crime rate because these drug addicts will steal from your house to sell the stolen items, just to get the next fix. There is also a concern where drugs are being taken into schools and there is also alcohol abuse in the schools. There are teenage pregnancies because substance abuse in our communities is high. In the Eastern Cape there are no rules being kept when it comes to liquor facilities like pubs and clubs and children are dying because no one is asking questions.
What is the Department is doing about this? How many government rehab facilities do we really have? Government makes it makes it very difficult for the non-profit organisations (NPOs) running rehab facilities to operate because of all the rules and regulations. Government will come in and give these NPOs a lot of nonsense. Is there a link and are they working together? How are they doing this? The Department of Health is working on a campaign to increase awareness of drug rehab facilities, but it is difficult to get accurate information on the number of facilities. People become mentally disabled after using drugs for a long time.
Ms M Mfikifoe (ANC) appreciated the presentation. The report on the seven pillars of the NDMP is very bleak. There cannot be an entity that is called an Authority but cannot authorise anything to go forward. It is dependent on inter-ministerial and inter-departmental cooperation for each programme to get off the ground. The complaint that comes through is that they do not have control over their own funding or projects presents a problem. How are they going to implement any programme if they do not have control over their projects? There are supposed to be 249 LDDACs. Currently, there are about 31 in existence. The fight against drugs in local areas is not really getting off ground. What will be the challenge in rolling out to all 249 municipalities. The report's focus is on other types of drugs but not on nyaope.
Working with the community, one has realised that all these other drugs do exist, but the young people are addicted to nyaope, and their mental and physical state is not very good. Why there is no focus on nyaope? What collaborations were done with non-governmental organisations (NGOs)? She asked about the collection of data from treatment centres and if CDA is providing factual information. One cannot make a synopsis on the impact of drugs in communities because not everybody goes to treatment centres. We cannot say we have a clear picture on the impact of drugs, if you are using only the treatment centre data. There will be big talks happening at the CDA'sThird Biennial Summit in 2023. However the summit is not going to give a real picture of the impact of drugs, especially on communities, and on the elderly because the people affected by this are the elderly and vulnerable women and children. The report says that a national survey should be done but it does not give the department responsible for this. If we do the national survey before the summit, we will be able to have a clearer picture at the summit.
If we do not have the survey, we do not know what are the critical issues and the number of drugs available in our communities, what are we going to take to the summit? The summit is a good thing, but there needs to be spadework done on site and surveys done so we know the critical issues that we need to address at the summit.
The PCAFs are not necessarily capacitated to deal with the problem. What measures does the CDA think government should do to empower the PCAFs to be able to do their work. It is disturbing that the Inter-Ministerial Committee is now dormant and CDA is suggesting to the Portfolio Committee to resuscitate the IMC. The Acting DG of the Department must be able to run with facilitating this forum because, as an oversight committee, we cannot be able to accept raising the issue with the Minister.
Ms K Bilankulu (ANC) said the report is promising but she wanted to remind CDA that the Committee is not impressed by reports but by their work on the ground. They must bear in mind all the issues raised by the Members. The statistics given by the CDA are confusing. Under the South African situational analysis in the presentation, CDA list five provinces with the highest numbers for alcohol and drug abuse but there is no mention of Limpopo. The Committee has been given stats by the police where Limpopo comes number four.
Limpopo is not mentioned in the CDA report. The report is not up to scratch. Next time before they present, CDA must check with all the provincial departments for up-to-date stats. On the missing financial report, the Committee needs to be updated on how CDA is spending. The Department of Social Development (DSD) is the one who is controlling their money. It will be good if CDA explains how they claim. Is it per meeting? Do all CDA members attend the meetings?
On performance management and monitoring, the report indicates that departments are not adhering to the timelines for submission of reports. It seems as if some departments do not understand what they must report on. A workshop is needed or some other forum for departments to be sure of what is expected of them. The appointment of social workers is also a challenge. DSD does not have money to appoint social workers, but there is a need.
Ms Bilankulu asked if CDA when meeting with other departments like Education and the South African Police Service (SAPS) encourage them to appoint permanent social workers in those departments to assist. Schools and hospitals need social workers for counselling.
She asked about the relationship between DSD and CDA in terms of the Department's support for its work, resources and tools of trade. The two provinces that do not have forums are Northern Cape and Limpopo but there was talk of Limpopo relaunching. The CDA needs to explain what happened about this relaunch.
Ms Bilankulu raised the border posts and drug trafficking. What type of drugs are smuggled into the country and leave the country? What are CDA's intervention strategies to address this? Lastly, are the LDACs launched in the local municipalities? If not, what is the turnaround strategy?
The Chairperson asked what is going to happen for the areas that do not have centres. Members have highlighted that there is still a lot of work to do in the country. The presentation was fine for your first time but it will be very much appreciated if the Plan can be implemented.
Ms Matlhogonolo Maboe, CDA board member, replied that there is a challenging scenario for the CDA budget as it is part of the DSD Substance Abuse Programme budget. We will then be allocated funds that fall under that programme. In terms of the direct operations of the budget, any transactions of the budget must be done through their programme, where we will have different signatories to be able to report to the Acting Director General and to be able to transact on any requests that we would have. What has happened previously, is that we will be given an allocation of the budget, which will be divided into three components however it is requested that we submit the budget as it comes from the DSD to the Portfolio Committee. This is an outline of how we operate financially. Where we make a submission to allocate a budget for example for a certain amount for tools of trade. However, when we request it, we will have to go through the DSD procurement process to procure any of the items. There was also an issue with Treasury regulations in spending over a certain amount. Having to submit via DSD is one of the problem we have. We do not have control as the payments are done through DSD.
Most of the budget is not actually responding to the NDMP due to its limited allocation. The one component that responds to it is the R1 million allocated for research. The submission has been done to DSD to be implemented where it would then do the procurement – it is just that we are not able to choose who can work for us. We will have to follow the procurement process where DSD will follow the supply chain process to give us whoever will be rendering that particular service. There is a mention specifically on the recession because that was the reason when there was an allocation last year, it could not be utilised. The process did not unfold as it should have. Those are some of the challenges that we face in our financial transactions.
On the budget itself, when it comes to claims, we only have what we would call claims for board meetings by CDA members and transport and accommodation when we have engagements, be it provincially or nationally. Certain transactions for the previous financial year became limited. When we made purchase submissions, we were informed that no transactions above a R30 000 limit are allowed which caused the CDA to be unable to spend its limited budget.
Ms Dareleen James, CDA board member, replied about the ongoing challenges at schools with youth abusing substances. We have been engaging with various organisations and we are on the ground visiting communities that are affected by substance abuse where you have a high school with a high dropout rate. We are in talks with the Department of Education to ensure that at schools we have a policy that speaks to substance use disorder (SUD) and to the steps taken when learners are caught abusing substances. In the community of Eldorado Park, you may have seen the activism from community stakeholders taking charge and taking lead in the community. What CDA is doing is empowering communities by hosting capacity building workshops with various entities that include school governing bodies and principals as well as NGOs and organisations that are working on the ground.
We are also putting recommendations forward that we should have a stakeholder such as NPOs linked to schools affected by alcohol and drug abuse. We are also finding a space to capacitate because we still find that although our Constitution states that children have the right to education, we still find a punitive approach is taken where the cops are being in and we do not see effective diversion programmes. We are working on strengthening those diversion programmes. The Victory Outreach Centre, which is a treatment centre, has a more spiritual approach when it comes to treatment centres. Although we align ourselves to the principles of the NDMP, we cannot dictate to people what type of treatment is taken. It needs to be kept in mind that some users choose to go the spiritual route, although we must also ensure, and we have also discussed with the department that we need to strengthen efforts to ensure that all rehabilitation centres are registered according to the minimum norms and standards. There is also a programme that we are embarking on to ensure that we strengthen the community by educating and empowering the communities on the importance of placing their children at a registered treatment centre. We see a lot of unregistered treatment centres; we have also engaged the department to ensure that we support the centres that are rendering services where they are not registered. We guide them in terms of what the requirements are.
Ms Nomathemba Kela, CDA board member, said that it is important to note that this presentation is for the first year of functioning of the CDA board from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. There has been a lot of work that has gone on since then during the current year. The presentation just looks at the 2021/22 financial year. On the issue of the participation of departments, as the report indicated CDA is engaging with that.
We are trying to get them to participate and make them understand why they must participate in the CDA. We have also notified the Minister that these other departments are not participating and requested the Minister to follow up with them. In terms of consequence management, the Act itself provides that if the departments are not participating and doing what they are supposed to do, we need to put this to Cabinet and it must take a decision on this. It is important for us to report that they have not been engaging. Perhaps the DG will report on the efforts around this and to explain to them why they must participate. Sometimes people do not understand what we are trying to do in the NDMP.
It is also about building the capacity of these departments because once they understand what CDA and NDMP are about, they tend to want to participate. This process is ongoing and with some departments we have had a positive response but with others we need to do more engaging. We have decided to take a softer approach. However, we note that we cannot do that forever. It is something that we must address and get a response on. On the concern that departments are not reporting to the extent that CDA expects them to report, CDA has come up with an analysis of reports we get from departments and engage with departments on their reports.
On the border situation, if we can get the capacity from the relevant departments to understand their role, they can also assist. We only got one input in which a provincial report was indicating issues around the border as to how the products are managed. It is an ongoing process and we are engaging with departments, especially the lead departments in each area in the NDMP. On the availability of alcohol, underage drinking and all those alcohol-related issues and legislation, we found that we have a commission that has different pieces of legislation. We have been informed that it is a constitutional issue.
Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a real problem in South Africa. The concentration of the work on FAS has been in the Northern and Western Cape. There is a lot of research on FAS. We are currently looking at this and will have to engage on this because the problem with FAS is that it impacts children whilst they are in their mother's womb. We do not have evidence now on the rest of the country because the research is limited to the Western and Northern Cape but this is a national problem.
On schools, the Department of Basic Education is a CDA member and we engage with them continually because we expect the provincial education departments to submit drug master plans that address these issues that Members have raised. They tend to just continue with the work that they are doing but you want them to come up with a drug master plan so that CDA can examine them and see the extent to which they are providing services on substance abuse and the allocation of resources.
We have engaged departments, stakeholders and other agencies, government and otherwise, as well as international agencies and asked them how do we do this national survey on substance abuse in South Africa. The minimum requirement for such a survey would be R10 million and we do not have R10 million in our budget. The money we have allocated is for a rapid assessment now. Yesterday our research committee met on how to do this because it is not just about trends, you also need to find out about interventions that are out there and so forth. On the question of how other departments can assist, we all know and it is a reality that departments have their own budget constraints, and do not have extra money to give away for anything else.
Department of Social Development (DSD) response
Mr Linton Mchunu, DSD Acting Director General, replied about the PSAF designated budget in the Western Cape. It is not the funds for running the convenor’s office but for the actual work that needs to happen. We are not talking about the activities of the convenor because in the Western Cape the convenor is very much involved in local drug control work. However, the convenors themselves have engaged with CDA and we find that almost all of them have budget challenges where they do not have a designated budget to attach to the work of the CDA.
On the LDACs, there is no mandate for the mayors to appoint and establish LDACs. The numbers we are talking about here are the local municipalities where there is a mayor because that is what the Act refers to. We have not trickled it down to the level of the wards. We are acting according to what the Act states which refers to a Local Drug Action Committee being appointed by the mayor, not down to the ward level. In the policies we have that as one of the things that needs to happen, because the policy also has to speak to what is happening at ward level.
On the state farm, the CDA is very much engaged with Gauteng since just before the current Premier came in and we have engaged on the farm. We are not the ones that are able to explain more on what is happening on this, but they have some changes. We do have some information that the province has reconsidered some of the plans around this. Just as an addition, we have a meeting with Gauteng province tomorrow, its National Executive Committee (NEC) as well as certain Social Development officials to discuss matters and the state farm will be included as well.
On the appointment of social workers using the resources of other departments. The reason we have a lot of unemployed social workers is because of the previous initiative when decision makers gave young people scholarships to go to university to do social work. An interdepartmental committee was looking at the needs in the country and identified that departments would require social workers such as hospitals, schools and the justice department. However, these social workers, when they completed their training, no arrangements were made for their placement in those departments. The President has indicated that the country does not have adequate resources. However, maybe some work needs to be done by the DSD. It is something that we must engage the CDA Deputy Chairperson, as part of our advice. There is a need to look at the social costs we must address, including substance abuse, domestic violence and those schools that require social work services, and to solve that with the cost of employing social workers. If there were more social workers employed in the country, you would be able to address some of the challenges we have. Social workers are currently overwhelmed. They are expected to be everything to everybody, and it is just not possible. Perhaps some work needs to be done around social workers.
A CDA representative replied about the relaunch in Limpopo, saying there was a relaunch because after the CDA board's appointment in April 2021, the provincial committee was not functional. It was reappointed and we launched in August. It is now functional.
A CDA representative explained the 2021/22 budget figures. There are three elements or components in the budget. Compensation of employees had an allocation of R2.381 million; Goods and services had 483 million; Capital assets for purchase laptops and other tools of trade for the independent members was R81 000. This amount could not be spent because the budget was far less than what was requested, even for the purchasing of a single laptop. The total budget allocation given by the Department was R6 000 094.
CDA did not manage to spend its R6 million last year due to the bureaucracy challenges around procurement. Of that R6 million, R1 million was for research so CDA actually had R5 million in total. R2.65 million was for compensation of employees. The remainder was left over for members' claims and everything else that has to do with the work of CDA.
Mr Mchunu clarified the assumption that funding must only come from the DSD is an incorrect assumption. We must dispel that. Every provincial government has a budget line item that deals with substance abuse. It must be noted that funding for substance abuse should not only come from DSD. As DSD we certainly have line items that address substance abuse, including in the provinces, but there are other government departments that ought to do the same, which they are not doing. The assumption is that we are the only ones dealing with substance abuse but that is not the case.
Mr Mchunu also clarified that the R30 000 cap before the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act applies is not dictated by DSD. It is a critical Treasury regulation that was adequately explained. Sometimes these things need to be clarified and the context explained. There is no way that we can deviate from procurement policies or processes as guided by Treasury regulations. We will stick to that to avoid any possible audit challenges from the Auditor General.
On CDA having teeth, the CDA is the Authority and it has the right to engage with various organisations. There are government departments that are not coming to the fore. Those are some of the areas that we are working on to assist CDA. The CDA has the teeth. Part of the presentation indicated that we have gone to department X, we have not won, we have taken this step. Now we are escalating this and requesting the Portfolio Committee to assist us in addressing some of these challenges by way of holding the relevant departments accountable. You have the authority and the ability to engage with the necessary institutions.
As far as research is concerned, the post is filled. Secondly, we do check out the research. We work with a number of institutions which is working very well. We have a programme of action to try and address some of the issues. There are some things that require legislative amendment. Those issues are important to be to be taken on board. We do have a series of research topics that we turn out through our other partners and institutions that we are working with and one or two universities as well, to try and address some of the issues.
Mvana, Ms NQ
Abrahams, Ms ALA
Arries, Ms LH
Bilankulu, Ms NK
Marais, Ms P
Masango, Ms B
Opperman, Ms G
Stock, Mr D
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