[The following is an extract of the speech delivered by Minister Albert Fritz at the launch of the Cape Town Drug Centre treatment site in Atlantis today.]
Ladies and gentlemen good morning,
It is always great to see people of this province taking initiative, whether they be in government, NGOs, the private sector or individuals in communities. The discussions I have had with some of you have been most encouraging.
But before I continue, allow me to acknowledge the presence of;
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to share how inspired I am by the people who have taken up the battle to beat their addiction to drugs and alcohol. Let me tell you this is no easy feat, especially given the prevalence of addictive substances in the Western Cape.
If we are to truly confront the crisis of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, then we must continue to build partnerships, and expand service delivery areas. This is why I am proud to be standing here today, to witness the opening of another drug treatment site. Well done to the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre team for this wonderful achievement.
We have now increased our services in the last 6 years from a mere 7 drug treatment and intervention sites, to 26 sites around the province.
We continue to call on the South African Police Services to reinstate the sort of specialized police units to shatter the gang and drug networks, who peddle drugs and create a climate of fear in our communities. We also continue to call on the Justice Cluster to mete out strong sentences as a necessary deterrent to crime.
We are placing greater emphasis on tackling alcohol abuse, especially given the terrible human cost and social ills it places on our province. From domestic abuse, to motor vehicle accidents and disorderly public conduct, alcohol features greatly in all these problems. Research recently conducted by the department into Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on the West Coast, found a prevalence of 64 children per 1000 (6,42%).
On the West Coast, alcohol has placed a huge toll on the development and futures of our children. This is why today’s launch of new additional resources, by way of the CTDCC Atlantis office, will greatly boost our ability to deliver services in the area. The centre has two registered drug counsellors, and will render therapeutic drug treatment interventions for adults and adolescents. The facility will also provide after-care facilities, family workshops, and most importantly will focus on community-based harm reduction strategies.
This office will be an invaluable partner to the Atlantis DSD Local Office, and grows our number of NGO partners operating in the area to tackle drugs and, especially, the harmful effects of alcohol.
I can confidently say that the Western Cape Government is at the forefront of the fight against substance abuse in the province.
However the truth is government cannot do this alone.
If we are to truly make a greater dent, and rapidly reduce the harm caused by substance abuse, we need to adopt a whole-of-society approach.
The Department of Social Development’s public policy response to substance abuse is about achieving harm reduction.
In my Budget Vote speech I committed to our department continuing to expand our services to poor communities.
That is why over the last six years we have more than doubled our budget and this year have allocated R98.9-million to the Substance Abuse, Prevention and Rehabilitation sub-programme.
Our approach as government is to focus on;
If we continue to work ‘Better Together’, we can bring real hope to sufferers of drug and alcohol addiction.
Ladies and gentlemen, in concluding here today, allow me to once again congratulate the CT Drug Counselling Centre team on this new site. When I attended their launch of the Mitchells Plain facility last year, I had said, “the years ahead will require hard work and commitment if we are to realize our goal to reduce the harm caused by substance abuse”, and true to form Mr Ashley Potts and the CTDC team by opening this new office, have delivered on that!
Through your commitment, your hard work, and focus on building partnerships, we are helping more people beat their addiction.
We as a provincial government are determined to play our part and deliver, especially to women and youth. Let us continue to adopt the whole-of-society approach, after-all success is best achieved “Better Together”.
Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
Western Cape Government
7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel : (021) 483 9217
Cell : 076 083 6543
Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za