DA, state square up over drug abuse

Moyahabo Mabeba

Moyahabo Mabeba

While the Limpopo department of health and social development is adamant that it is on the right track to curb the escalating rate of substance abuse, the DA in the province is scathing in its criticism.

A war of words exploded between the department and the party, with the latter accusing the former of "not acting proactively" to curb the rising tide of drug abuse at schools and universities.

The unprecedented verbal exchange occurred when the department's spokesman Phuti Seloba and DA leader Michael Holford crossed swords ahead of the department's anti-drug campaign scheduled for July 26 in Bela-Bela.

Holford charged: "It is a well-known fact that there were patients at the psychiatric hospital of Thabamoopo who were suffering from substance abuse but were not well taken care of.

"It is a shame that these drug- poisoned patients' problems have not been acknowledged by the government. The DA acknowledges that this shortcoming has done little to solve the problem and may lead further to the escalation of abuse."

But, Seloba dismissed Holford's claims as "sheer ignorance", saying his department had already launched numerous programmes dealing with issues of substance abuse.

"We wish to inform him that we have already visited more than 70 schools conducting training and awareness campaigns," said Seloba.

"We are also assisting drug addicts to quit while most of the programmes have been successful through our flagship campaign, Ke Moja [I am okay], which educates people on the dangers of substance abuse and encourages addicts to quit," he added.