Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, members of the community.
I am pleased to be addressing you here at The Sultan Bahu Centre in Mitchells Plain, as the issues of substance abuse are a daily reality for this community. I want to acknowledge the work of Sultan Bahu as it provides easily accessible, community based outpatient treatment which is internationally accredited. Within Mitchells Plain there is an urgent need for such programmes, so I would like to thank you for doing so with professionalism and compassion.
The Western Cape has the highest rate of drug and alcohol related harms in the country. Tik use and the increasing use of heroin based substances, such as Unga, as well as binge-drinking, are among our most serious challenges.
Mitchells Plain police station records the highest rate of drug related crime in the Western Cape, partly due to the high priority placed on arrests at the station. The nearby GF Jooste hospital also sees up to 300 patients per month admitted with drug related trauma.
As a province we are spending around R100 million for this financial year on addressing alcohol and drug-related harms. As a department we are spending R60 million of that, the other Departments, such as, Community Safety, Education, Health and Econ Dev make up the remaining R40 million being spent. Of this R60 million being spent by the Department R31, 842 million is transferred to the NPO sector.
Sultan Bahu is one of our priority programmes. In 2008/09 R1 861 000 of funding was transferred by the Department of Social Development to Sultan Bahu, in 2009/10 this went up to R2 million. During this financial year this Department has contributed R2 418 632.00 to the work of The Sultan Bahu organisation, not only here but also in Bonteheuwel and Hanover Park. The funding to Sultan Bahu is for early intervention programmes, treatment, after care and reintegration into the community.
The fact that the funding we give to NGOs has increased at a rate higher than inflation demonstrates our commitment to this priority, especially in the context of a recession, with dropping revenue income. Our allocations are increasing by more than the amounts that we as a Department receive from Treasury.
We currently have 12 approved outpatient sites in the Western Cape, of which, 4 are in Mitchells Plain. In total the Department of Social Development funds 24 treatment programmes in the province, up from 6 in the previous financial years. We have also increased the number of patients receiving treatment from 3700 last year to 4400 in the current financial year.
Prevention is always much better than cure, and we are currently working to extend early intervention and treatment to younger people as a preventative measure.
Together with UCT and the University of Stellenbosch we have also developed academic accredited programmes in substance abuse which have been funded by the Department of Social Development. The aim is to massively increase the quality and quantity of skills in the sector.
So on that positive note of our way forward, I want to again thank Sultan Bahu for the work you are doing and we look forward to continue to working with you and the community of Mitchells Plain in combating this evil.
Acting Deputy Director for Communications and Marketing
Social Development Western Cape
Tel: 021 483 8588
Fax: 021 483 8802
Cell: 083 500 6175