The Inkatha Freedom Party is questioning the incompetence on the part of the Department of Social Development when it comes to the rehabilitation of persons suffering with alcohol and drug addiction.
“I was deeply troubled by the plight of a 34year old man in Empangeni who is desperately seeking assistance to cure himself of his alcohol addiction problem. Suffering from severe stomach pains he went to Ngwelazane Hospital where he was told that because of his addiction to alcohol he would have to go to the Department of Social Development for help. He then went to the Department of Social Development in Empangeni where he was given a form which is to be filled by a doctor and then taken to SANCA. He then went to the doctor and was told that he would have to pay R300.00 for the form to be filled. Being very ill and without any money he walked for about 20kms to seek assistance from me. It is unacceptable that neither the Department of Social Development nor the hospital could help this man with transport in between the various service providers or help him with the stomach pains. We are aware that the issue of substance addiction is a serious problem in many communities across our province. Here we have a person who is seeking assistance to kick the habit but our government departments are not helpful. I was able to provide him with some assistance but I wonder whether he will survive the eight weeks he has to wait before being admitted for treatment”, said IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature, Mr Blessed Gwala MPL.
“I am aware that the Department of Social Development has funds allocated in its Substance Abuse Programme that is focused on the implementation of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act and the National Drug Master Plan. This Programme is supposed to improve access to anti-substance abuse services, inpatient, outpatient and community-based treatment, but evidently this is not happening on the ground. Huge amounts of money is squandered on flashy roadshows highlighting substance abuse but when people seek help they are given the run-around. The Department of Social Development can have no excuse for such shoddy treatment since there is funding available. The Department has a Restorative Services programme that must become more supportive and helpful to people who are seeking rehabilitation so that they can once again take their rightful place in society”, concluded Mr Gwala.
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature