On Monday, 26 February 2018, Mayor Herman Mashaba opened the first ever Community Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centre in Tladi, Soweto as part of the City’s war against substance abuse.
Mayor Mashaba, who was accompanied by members of his executive, told the residents of Soweto that there should be no place for drug peddlers in our communities and that this treatment centre is there to help the community but above all, give hope to those who are addicted to drugs and other substances.
“As a City, we do understand that socially, it is impossible for some communities to break out of the clutches of drug cartels that target them. We also understand that in many of our City’s communities, the business of drugs has become the community’s informal economy; sometimes, residents refuse to point out dealers because, in one small way or another, the economy of drugs generates the only income for some people. However, this illicit economy kills. If it is not stopped immediately, the spread of drugs will choke and suppress the development of our communities, including Tladi and the surrounding areas,” said Mayor Mashaba.
He called on the community to work closely with law enforcement agencies to identify the drug peddlers so that they can be removed from our communities.
The Mayor said he was proud of the steps taken by the Department of Health and Social Development in the City by developing such a comprehensive program.
The City will in this financial year open other community based substance abuse treatment centres in Westbury Clinic, Riverpark Clinic in Alexandra, Joubert Park Clinic and the Eldorado Park Extension 9 Clinic.
The Community Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centres are an effort by the City to address the scourge of drugs in our most vulnerable communities. These centres will compliment services rendered by both private and state owned rehabilitation centres, which tend to be inaccessible and unaffordable to our indigent residents. Although institutionalization should be a last resort, these centres will work with individuals, families and communities to ensure an integrated approach.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Dr Mpho Phalatse told guests and residents at the opening that all efforts will be made to assist communities across the city to fight the scourge of substance abuse and related social ills.
MMC Phalatse said that the substance abuse treatment program was benchmarked against international and national tried and tested programs, including those in the City of Cape Town.
The approach that we are taking will focus on the entire chain of substance abuse to assist addicts recover their health and social lives. It is important that we provide a full package that will include referring those who will undergo the program opportunities in life. We will be working closely with some of our departments in the city to provide skills development and other interventions to limit chances of our clients from relapsing,’’ said MMC Phalatse.
Mandla Mbatha, a recovered substance abuser told the gathered crowd and invited guests that it was important that communities embrace the treatment centre in Tladi and help those who are abusing drugs.
Mbatha said without the support of communities, it was difficult for substance abusers to seek help.
“I have gone through hell and I have seen how drugs can destroy not only you but those close to you. I have hurt my mother in so many ways, but today I proudly stand before you to say I am clean and that it is possible to lead a drug free life, all that we need to do is to support those who are finding it difficult to quit,” said Mbatha to the applause of the community.
Mayor Mashaba thanked the community of Soweto and impressed upon them to make use of the facility but above all protect it.