DSD approaches high court over illegal rehabs | Western Cape Government


DSD approaches high court over illegal rehabs

22 September 2022

The Western Cape Department of Social Development has continued to receive complaints about illegal rehabilitation centres exploiting clients and in some cases, violating their human rights.

In spite of interventions by the Department to assist various unregistered facilities to become compliant, some of these organisations have not taken the necessary steps to become registered, and the Department has therefore approached the Western Cape High Court to seek orders for their closure. 

Registered facilities have met certain standards that ensure the human rights, wellbeing, and dignity of clients are protected. Any prospective client has the right to ask to see the registration certificate before using the service.

In order to become registered, rehabilitation centres must have health, safety and zoning clearances from the relevant local municipality and a qualified multidisciplinary team of professionals made up of social workers, nurses, psychologists and related professions.  They must follow a bio-psychosocial approach which means the health, mental, and social dimensions of the client are addressed in the treatment plans.

Where appropriate, the Department engages unregistered facilities to assist them to become complaint. This includes guiding the organisation through the requirements for the premises, staffing, and treatment programmes, and providing them with all of the necessary registration forms.

During the past year, as part of a systematic approach to address the illegal provision of services, the Department has reached out to 66 unregistered treatment programmes and facilities to assist them with compliance and registration.

Through these efforts, some facilities have engaged themselves in becoming compliant.

The Department appeals to the public to only make use of treatment programmes – whether in-patient, community-based services, or halfway houses – that are registered by the Department of Social Development. If detoxification is provided, then the facility must have a license issued by the Department of Health.

We currently subsidise 28 community-based treatment centres, as well as six of the 27 registered inpatient rehabilitation centres in the province. In addition, the Department operates two in-patient treatment centres for adults, two for youth, and an additional five centres for children in alternative care.

A list of registered, DSD-funded treatment facilities can be found here.

Media Enquiries: 

Head of Communications

Esther Lewis

072 647 2351