Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has called on all South Africans to join hands in the fight against the scourge of Gender-Based Violence.
"I implore all South Africans wherever you are, whatever language you speak, whatever your religious persuasion and whatever your political affiliation, let us join hands together to fight this evil scourge that is tearing our nation apart," Minister Zulu said on Friday.
Speaking during a webinar session on the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Pretoria, Minister Zulu said across the country, violence against women and girls, including rape, is on the rise and that the names of the victims reads like casualties in a war zone.
"This is the time for all of us to pull together to ensure that all women and girls of this great nation are and feel safe. We must confront head on this culture of violence perpetrated against women and girls and deny them their inherent human rights and dignity because of their gender," Zulu said.
Alcohol and drug abuse linked to GBV
She said there is a connection between alcohol abuse and gender-based violence.
"It is a global problem that requires global cooperation. The high levels of alcohol and drug abuse, and in more recent times, the emergence of cheap and easily accessible drugs like nyaope and whoonga has reached epidemic proportions.
"No part of our society has been spared this scourge of alcohol and substance abuse. Alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use remain a significant issue in our community, contributing to the burden of disease in South Africa," the Minister said.
Zulu said a national concerted effort is needed to realise the vision of a South Africa free of alcohol and drug abuse.
"Along with the emergence of greater availability and trafficking of these cheap highly addictive drugs, we must also confront the emerging crisis of intravenous drug use which is driving the new HIV infections and hepatitis," the Minister said.
National Drug Master Plan
She explained that the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP, 2019-2024), reflects a coordinated multi-sectoral approach and provides strategic direction necessary to prevent and reduce the scourge of alcohol and substance, provides treatment for substance users and reduce the availability of dangerous drugs in the country.
"The goal of the of the National Drug Master Plan is to contribute to safer and healthier communities through coordinated efforts to prevent use, treat substance use disorders, and reduce production and distribution of illicit drugs in South Africa," the Minister said.
The NDMP focuses on seven priority areas, these are:
Demand reduction and related measures, including prevention as well as other health related issues;
Supply reduction and related measures, effective law enforcement; responses to drug related crime; countering money laundering and promoting judicial cooperation;
Ensuring the availability of, and access to controlled substances exclusively for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their diversion;
Identification and control of new psychotropic/psychoactive substances;
Promote governance, leadership, and accountability for a coordinated multi-sectoral effective response;
Strengthen data collection, monitoring, evaluation, and research evidence to achieve the goals; and
Stimulate robust and sustainable economic growth aimed at reducing poverty, unemployment and inequalities.
Minister Zulu said the seven priority areas will ensure that the country focusses on things that matter most.
"Key amongst these is preventing drug use before it starts, with specific focus on young people. Prevention is better than cure," the Minister said.