Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini File photo: David Ritchie

Johannesburg - The third board of an authority aimed at curbing substance abuse was inaugurated in Johannesburg on Monday.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said the Central Drug Authority's (CDA) new board needed to act against drug abuse with determination.

She said drug and alcohol abuse were international problems which fuelled other social problems.

“Research shows that alcohol and substance abuse contribute to other social ills such as gangsterism, human trafficking, crime and violence against women and children, and destroys families,” Dlamini said.

Through its negative effects on society, substance abuse remained an obstacle to South Africa's development, the CDA said in its annual report for 2011/2012.

The CDA is an advisory body which was established under the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act.

It is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan and reports to Parliament through the minister of social development.

Dlamini said substance abuse destroyed families and threatened the future of the youth.

She encouraged parents to take action when they detected drug use in their children. “Parents must not just keep quiet when they see there is a problem in the house.”

Dlamini said dealing with substance abuse required help from all sectors.

“If we are to conquer this war, it will not be as a result of government action alone, but it will occur as a result of a co-ordinated national effort.”

Dlamini said the CDA's board should support the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Substance Abuse in its initiatives.

Recent IMC initiatives included legislative reforms aimed at limiting or banning alcohol advertising and increasing the age for legal alcohol consumption.

The reviewed National Drug Master Plan for 2013 to 2017 is due to be approved by Cabinet next month.

Dlamini said the new plan would focus on primary prevention of substance abuse.

“... The Plan advocates for collaborative, balanced, and research-based approach interventions to inform policy and programmes,” she said.

The newly-elected board consisted of members of a number of government departments and civil society.

It would be chaired by Mogotsi Kalaemodimo, from the department of social development.

Led by Dlamini, he and the other board members recited a pledge to serve the CDA with integrity.

During the first three months of the board's five-year tenure, the CDA is expected to establish 23 Local Drug Action Committees, in addition to its 215 existing committees. - Sapa