Central Drug Authority Boardmembers Selections: Department briefing

Social Development

23 August 2005
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Meeting report

Chapter 6

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
24 August 2005
CENTRAL DRUG AUTHORITY BOARD MEMBERS SELECTIONS: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING

Chairperson:
Ms T Tshivhase (ANC)

Document handed out:
Department briefing

SUMMARY
The Department of Social Development briefed the Committee on the need to select the new members of the Central Drug Authority (CDA) Board, as their term expired on 31 August 2005. The role of the CDA was to oversee and monitor the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP). The NDMP had expired and the review process had been completed. The candidates for the selection of the new Board members had been drawn from public and civil society and had experience with dependency and treatment. The Department recommended that the Committee assist in facilitating the selection process and that only those candidates who had time for CDA business above their own commitments, should be selected.

Members asked about the weaknesses of the outgoing Board and what oversight functions the Board had performed. They also asked if there were provisions in the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act No. 20 of 1993, that allowed some Board members to be retained; what the Board had received in material support; and whether the Department had done any comparative international studies. The Committee also asked if there was any performance register to assess how well the Board was performing, and if there was a comprehensive plan that co-ordinated the drug plans of various government departments.

MINUTES

Department briefing
Ms C Nxumalo (Department Director: Substance Abuse) briefed the Committee on the need to select the new CDA Board members as their term of office expired on 31 August 2005. The review of the NDMP would be tabled in Parliament as soon as internal processes were completed. Their priority areas were crime; youth; community health; research and information dissemination, international involvement, communication; capacity-building and occupational groups at risk.

The role of the CDA was to oversee and monitor the implementation of the NDMP, to facilitate the co-ordination of programmes, to encourage government departments and the private sector to draw up plans to address drug abuse in line with the goals of the National Drug Plan, and to review the NDMP on a five-yearly basis. The CDA also had to submit an Annual Report to Parliament that showed how the national drug problem was being addressed, promote measures including legislation that combated drug abuse, and advise the Minister of Social Development, the government and NGOs about substance abuse.

The candidates for the selection of the new members of the CDA were drawn from the public and civil society organisations. The appointment of the members was conducted in terms of the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act No. 20 of 1993. The nomination process for these candidates had been completed in June 2005, with a resultant 61 applications. Only 12 Board members needed to be appointed. The Department recommended that the Committee assist in facilitating the selection process and that only those candidates that had time for CDA business above their own commitments, should be selected.

Discussion
The Chairperson asked what weaknesses had been noted during the term of the outgoing Board and whether the CDA had interacted with other departments. Ms Nxumalo replied that a weakness was the limited amount of time some members of the Board spent on CDA duties as some had other commitments. They had passed their work onto the Secretariat.

Ms Nxumalo said that other departments were involved in the CDA but not all the members had attended all of the meetings. The new members had to sign a Code of Conduct. The individual departments had to ensure that officials attended the meetings and had to draw up their own ‘mini drug plans’ with resource allocations. Some departments put their interests before those of the CDA. The Act stipulated that departments had to be involved in the CDA, but the enforcement procedure was not effective. Some departments were not included in the Act, but had been included after a review process.

Mr M Waters (DA) asked what oversight functions the Board had performed; which Departments did not have drug plans; where the CDA sourced the money to finance the advertising process as it was under-funded, and what it was doing with the escalating problem of the drug ‘Tik’ (crystal methamphetamine) in the Western Cape.

Ms Nxumalo replied that each department had to come up with their own mini drug plan but the Departments of Justice, Education and Home Affairs had not done so yet. The CDA was not directly involved with eradicating the problem of ‘Tik’ but was in touch with involved groups. The money for the advertisements had been received from their Chief Directorate.

Mr B Solo (ANC) asked if there were provisions in the Act that allowed some members of the Board to be retained. He asked what the Board received in terms of material support and whether the Department had done any international comparative studies. He saw a lack of seriousness in the approach of the CDA in combating drugs and this had been compounded by their lack of material support. Structures in schools had also led to an increase of drug abuse, especially where younger pupils went to school with older children. He did not see much community involvement to address the problem either.

Ms Nxumalo replied that Board members could be re-nominated and re-appointed. The larger meetings met twice a year but the Executive Committee meetings took place four times a year. The members received R1 500 per eight-hour day, while the Chairperson received R2 500. There had been no comparative studies to see how other countries operated, but the drug issue had been discussed at the African Union and Southern African Development Community meetings.

Ms H Weber (DA) asked if the CDA was involved in the arrest of drug smugglers, and about its relationship with the police and other law enforcement authorities. It was unacceptable that the Departments of Justice, Education and Home Affairs had no drug plans yet.

Ms Nxumalo said that the CDA was not involved in the apprehension of smugglers. The CDA’s role was to co-ordinate the efforts of the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the SA Revenue Service and others. The issue of the supply of drugs was the domain of the SAPS. Ms Mokoko (CDA Deputy Director) said that an appointed SAPS official was involved with the CDA and gave an annual report on how to reduce the supply of drugs.

Ms J Chalmers (ANC) asked if there was a performance register to assess how well the Board was performing, and if there was a comprehensive plan to co-ordinate the drug plans of the departments.

Ms Nxumalo said that a comprehensive report had been compiled and it would be given to the Committee. The various departments had not been sharing their plans with each other, and so there was no integrated national plan. The new CDA had a strategic plan for this to finally happen and to strengthen the monitoring of the system.

Ms X Makasi remarked that the CDA seemed to have "no teeth". She wanted to know the role of the Board in schools. Before the CDA had been established, there had been community action against drugs, but now there was no co-ordination of these efforts.

Ms Nxumalo replied that provincial forums had been established, but municipal drug action structures had to be set up. Provincial representatives were not included in the CDA but they were mentioned in the new Act. However, as the Board had been constituted in terms of the old Act, provincial representatives were still excluded from the CDA.

The meeting was adjourned.

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