Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Herman Mashaba, has called on residents to help police root out drug peddlers.
Mashaba was speaking at the launch of the Joubert Park Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centre in Ward 59, in the Inner City.
The treatment centre is the fourth facility of this nature which the multi-party government has launched. This follows the recent launches of the Golden Harvest In-patient Treatment Centre, as well as the Eldorado Park Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centre.
The Mayor said residents of the City should work closely with the metro police by identifying peddlers and those who make a living by manufacturing drugs. He said criminals and those who bring drugs into the country should face the full might of the law.
The opening of this centre is in line with the City of Joburg’s Health and Social Development integrated strategy to eradicate substance abuse and other related social ills.
R30 million in operational expenditure and R12.5 million in capex has been allocated to the Department of Health and Social Development to expand the number of Community
Substance Abuse Treatment Centres to 8 by the end of the 2018/19 financial year. The centres render much needed outpatient rehabilitation services to users, their families and the community.
Since the launch of the Tladi facility in Soweto, earlier this year, there has been an increase in the number of intakes who were enrolled on the outpatient treatment programme.
Between April and June 2018, the Tladi and Eldorado Park Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centres registered 243 new intakes of people who sought help to break the cycle of substance abuse. As a result of an increase in the number of children dropping out of High School, Ward 59 is faced with a high unemployment rate, crime and drug abuse. Mayor Mashaba raised concerns about the high concentration of alcohol outlets in Ward 59.
“I must admit that I was absolutely shocked to discover that there are no less than 18 bottle stores and numerous other such establishments dedicated to selling alcohol in this one single ward”, said Mayor Mashaba.
In an effort to provide for an integrated and holistic focus on the wellbeing of communities, ensuring preventative as well as curative health services across all age groups, the City has a 24-hour Substance Abuse Crisis Line called Ithemba, which is situated at 28 Harrison Street, Marshalltown in central Johannesburg.
The toll free service provides 24-hour access to professional assistance, tele-counselling services, containment of emotions and feelings, referrals to support services and home visits.
MMC for Health and Social Development, Dr Phalatse, who was working alongside the mayor, assured the residents of Joubert Park that the relocation of Joubert Park Clinic to Esselen Street Clinic was made with the communities’ best interest at heart. She said Esselen Clinic had the space and capacity to offer a full range of health services as compared to Joubert Park Clinic, whose development was hampered by the park being a heritage site.
“I personally walked from Esselen Street Clinic to Joubert Park to determine the distance and I can assure you that the distance between the two facilities is less than a 10 minutes’ walk” said Phalatse, adding that the broader community will benefit from having a Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centre along a busy transport corridor.
Johan Robyn from the Outreach Foundation commended Mashaba and Phalatse for walking the talk in dealing with the scourge of drugs in the city. Robyn and other invited guests called on Mashaba to continue his war on drugs. The City will later in this month open the River Park Clinic Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Centre in Alexandra.
The Ithemba toll free number is 0800 223 217.