Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill [B12-2008: Deliberations

Social Development

12 June 2008
Chairperson: Adv M Masutha (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee deliberated upon clauses 1 to 9 of the Bill. Technical amendments were made to various clauses. It was stressed that private treatment centres offering detoxification services could become health establishments, if they complied with the National Health Act. All Ministers should be listed in clause 3. A new clause 5 would emphasise Cabinet’s role in adopting a National Drug Master Plan and there should also be a new clause 6 to highlight the role of the Central Drug Authority as the technical body that had to facilitate this Plan. New subclauses to Clause 4 would ensure that the Cabinet must adopt a national policy framework, that the Minister, must in consultation with other Ministers, coordinate the national policy framework, and that the Central Drug Authority must facilitate, evaluate and monitor the National Drug Master Plan.

Meeting report

Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill (the Bill): Deliberations clause by clause
The Committee deliberated, clause by clause, on the Bill

Clause 1
The Committee considered the words: “National Drug Master Plan; control and manage”.

The Chairperson asked why the national drug strategy had to set measures to control and manage the supply and demand for drugs, as it implicated government as being part of the “drug supply”.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) proposed that “manage” be substituted with “reduce” as it would be more appropriate.

The Committee and the drafters from the Department of Social Development (DSD) accepted this suggestion.

The Committee then discussed the meaning of “Detoxification” and “Health Establishment”.

Ms Dudley asked whether private treatment centers that offered detoxification services would automatically become health establishments under the provisions enshrined in the Bill.

Mr Puseletso Lesolo, Chief Director, Legal Services: DSD, replied that the matter had come under discussion the previous day and that the Committee, as well as the Department, concluded that if a centre complied with the National Health Act then it would be deemed to be a “health establishment”.

Adv Masutha added that even a sick bay at schools would be able to qualify as a health establishment, as long as the room complied with the minimum norms and standards set by the National Health Act.

Ms Nomathemba Kela, Chief Director: Welfare Services, DSD, noted that the definition related to “health establishments” could be broadened to include “ a treatment centre authorised to provide such a service in compliance with the National Health Act”.

The Committee discussed the wordsServices” and “health practitioner”

Mr Sean Whiting, Advisor to Ministry of Social Development, noted that if this change came into effect then “health practitioner” had to be omitted from clause 1 as any registered professional, recognised in the Bill could perform detoxification services.

Adv Masutha noted that the Bill had to be clear and explicit that only authorised professional personnel could provide services.

He added that the DSD should also omit “rendered by” in that same sentence.

The Committee agreed to these changes.

Clause 3
The Chairperson asked why the DSD had not included the Ministries as well in clause 3(1), as all of the Ministers would be affected by this clause. He therefore proposed that the clause should read: “The Minister must, together with the Ministers responsible for the Departments and State Organs listed in clause 53 (2)(a) to (t)  … “

This change was agreed to.

In relation to clause 3 (2), the Chairperson noted that “ensure” had to be substituted by “adopt”, as it would place the onus on the Minister to implement a multifaceted and integrated approach in consultation with the departments listed in 53(2)(a) to (t).

The Chairperson further said that the reference made to “this Act” in clause 3 (2) should be omitted.

He added that clause 3(3) had to be deleted and substituted. He said that the substituted wording should read: “ The Minister and Organs of State referred to in sub-clause (2) must, within their available resources, provide…”

The Chairperson indicated that clause 3(4) had to be changed as well, to read “ The Minister must, in consultation with the Ministers and State Organs listed in clause 3 (1).

Clause 4
Ms H Weber (DA) noted that the word “ensures” in clause 4(h) should read “ensure.

The Committee accepted this change.

The Chairpreson referred to the words “Treatment services contemplated in subsection (2)(c), in clause 4(3). Firstly, he though that the clause should read : “The Minister must coordinate and take the initiative after consultation with … “ and then, in that same sentence, the words “treatment services contemplated in subsection (2)(c)” should be deleted and substituted with  “ intersectoral strategies as indicated above”

The Chairperson added that certain tasks would be allocated within the DSD, but in some cases the onus shifted to other governmental departments and organs to play a role.

Ms Kela said that the DSD would ensure that way was found to integrate the role of the Minister and his colleagues.

The Chairperson noted that the three new sub-clauses (4), (5) and (6) would contain the following:

Sub-clause 4: Cabinet must adopt a national policy framework
Sub-clause 5: The Minister, must in consultation with other Ministers, coordinate the national policy framework.
Sub-clause 6:The CDA must facilitate, evaluate and monitor the National Drug Master Plan.

Ms Weber expressed her concern at the slow pace of the deliberations and said that it seemed that the Bill was too complicated.

The Chairperson expressed the same concern, but said that it was necessary to pass the Bill through Parliament, although the deadline for its submission was very close.

Clause 9
Ms Weber noted that the word “creating” as used in clause 9(2)(c) should read “create”. 

The session was adjourned.

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