Speech

The Official Opening of the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (Eerste River)

15 June 2010

Honourable Premier
Distinguished guests
Members of Parliament
Councillors and Community Leaders
All Officials
Ladies & Gentlemen

Good morning and on behalf of the Western Cape Government, I extend a warm word of welcome to the official opening of the Western Cape Rehabilitation centre (Eerste River).

During her term as Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Ms Zille recognised that drugs and alcohol abuse posed a serious threat to development and progress in the City.

Soon after she became the Premier of the Western Cape, Premier Zille put the issue of substance abuse centre stage on the agenda of the newly elected Government.

Premier Zille decided to take political leadership on this matter and appointed an interdisciplinary task team who regularly meet to measure progress on the front of substance abuse. In addition, she has appointed a Provincial Substance Abuse Coordinator, Mr R McDonald. In May this year Cabinet approved the Western Cape Provincial Substance Abuse Strategy for the Western Cape. The Premier will in her speech elaborate more on this matter.

Last year on 06 November 2009, the Premier and I undertook a field trip to the Cape Winelands and the Cape Metropolitan Area. The purpose of the trip was to identify a suitable venue to open a rehabilitation centre, that will give hope for people/youth who are trapped in this net of substance and alcohol abuse.

Our journey ended here at Rosendal, at the time a Child Care Centre. It became clear that the facility was hugely underutilised and that the children could be effectively reintegrated at Huis Vredelust in Elsies River. After this process was completed we liaised with the Department of Public Works to appoint a contractor to convert this facility into a substance abuse rehabilitation centre.

In a record time, they have succeeded in completing this facility. Because this project appeared on my dashboard, I came to physically inspect the progress and met the contractors on site.

I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues, especially the Premier, Minister Theuns Botha, Minister Alan Winde and Minister Robin Carlisle for supporting my request for funding for this Centre.

So today, we will open this Centre, to provide Hope for the youth of the Western Cape. Because drugs destroy the opportunities of people, this Centre will create hope for the youth so that they become productive citizens of the Western Cape.

The Premier will outline in greater detail our vision of the open opportunity society in the Western Cape.

I now call on Premier Helen Zille to deliver the key note address.

Premier, thank you for your leadership in the fight against substance abuse.