Deputy Minster observes international day against drug abuse in the Northern Cape
The Northern Cape has the second highest prevalence of substance abuse in the country. This was highlighted during the key note address by Deputy Minister of Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu at the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at the Mittah Sperespere Convention Centre. The ceremony was preceded by a four-day dialogue series under the theme, ‘Listen First’ where the deputy minister engaged communities in different parts of the province addressing issues they face while attempting to fight the scourge of substance abuse. “Today is a United Nations Day, that enables us to reflect, that enable us to take stock of the progress that which we did or did not do in the fight against drugs an illicit trafficking. It’s an opportunity for the country to say how big the problem is, what instruments or tools do we have to solve the problem, what can we do together, and what kind of support mechanisms do we have in place.”
During her visit, Bogopane-Zulu said that it was concerning that the Northern Cape had some of the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse in the country given its rich heritage and history. The deputy minister has urged youth in the province to rewrite their narrative and make big changes in the lifestyles. “The Northern Cape is a province that has a high prevalence of drug abuse, a high prevalence of alcohol abuse and that is a historical reality because they were also affected by the ‘dop system’ so working out of that requires special attention. Helping the Northern Cape to work through those challenges requires special attention hence we chose the Northern Cape because we believe that beginning to work with the community of the Northern Cape; it’s a small community but it’s a vast province and half the time the services don’t reach them because of poor infrastructure. So we need to pay attention to that particular province so that we harness the communities’ strength so the community finds solutions to its own problems,” decreed Bogopane-Zulu.
The strong prevalence of substance abuse has been identified as one of the top priorities. During her visit Bogopane-Zulu also handed over the keys to one of the provinces first in-patient rehabilitation centre at a political briefing between the MEC for Social Development Gift van Staden, Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and the Northern Cape’s Premier Sylvia Lucas as well as other stakeholders. CEO of the Central Drug Authority David Bayever has commended the efforts and teamwork of the MEC and Deputy Minister for their efforts in battling the never-ending war on drugs in the province. “The Central Drug Authority salutes the deputy minister and the MEC of the province on establishing a forty bed facility in the province and demonstrating their commitment to eliminate the problems caused by substance,” said Mr Bayever.
The Provincial Department of Social Development says the facility will be operationalized in September this year. The Facility will be launched soon.