Minister De Lille Conveys Message of Hope to Mothers of Drug Addicts
Patricia de Lille, the Minister for Social Development in the Western Cape, is "concerned about the growing sentiment amongst mothers of children with drug problems that they feel they need to resort to killing their children", and has urged them to come to the Provincial Department of Social Development for help.
The Minister's comments come after a Mitchell's Plain mother, Bridget Van Ballo, told a local newspaper she was "going to kill my son" if the court did not have him locked up. Her son had allegedly been "tormenting and stealing from her for six years to feed his drug habit".
"Ms Van Ballo is not alone - every week we hear of mothers that have threatened to kill their children. While their terrible frustration is understandable, there is in fact hope and there is help. Van Ballo and other parents that have found themselves in this predicament should come to us for help," Minister de Lille says.
"We have expanded the number of spaces in treatment programmes for people like Van Ballo's son, from 3 700 in 2008 to nearly 5 000 this year. We fund three large programmes in Mitchell's Plain, and we have increased the total number of drug treatment programmes that we fund across the province, from seven in 2008 to 24 this year."
"In the past year alone we have opened three new drug treatment programmes, including a new in-patient programme specifically for youth. We have also established new courses in partnership with Stellenbosch and UCT universities to train social workers and medical professionals working for government, the NGO and private sectors," says de Lille.
"Our budget, which is almost R20 million more than it was three years ago, is R67 million for 2010/2011. With these services available, parents in need can find help. They do not need to resort to violence."
The Minister says there is a procedure mothers like Bridget Van Ballo can follow when their children are out of control.
"Even if parents find their children are unwilling to get help, there is a legal procedure they can follow to have their child committed to treatment, in terms of the Substance Dependence Act. Parents can approach their local Magistrate or Social Development office for advice on the steps they need to take," de Lille says.
Minister de Lille's advice:
2. If your child commits a crime they should be made legally accountable. If it is as a result of his or her addiction, the judge can sentence them by way of Article 296 for compulsory drug treatment, if the probation officer recommends it.
3. If your child is often abusive and violent at home, get a restraining order - the police are obliged to act on this and remove him.
1. Your child can be forced to go for compulsory drug treatment under the Substance Dependence Act. He or she would need to be committed. You make an affidavit in this regard at the Magistrate's office and hand it in at your nearest Social Development office. This process goes through court and can take a few months.