The Issue | Langeberg Substance Abuse Action Group
Substance abuse is a national crisis threatening the very fabric of our society with illegal drug consumption in South Africa recorded statistically as being double the world norm. Increasing drug availability and abuse has led to an upsurge in crime and violence rates, especially among poor unemployed South Africans. Figures published by the South African Police Service show that drug abuse accounts for 60% of all crimes. In essence, substance abuse is gripping the very core of our society and the co-ordinated efforts of all sectors such as Government, private, business and NGO’s is required to decrease widespread drug use at all levels of society.
The Langeberg Municipal region consists of 5 towns, Bonnievale, Robertson, Ashton, Montagu and Mc Gregor, commonly referred to as BRAMM. Not only are these areas well known for producing some of the best wines in the country, it also has a history of communities rich in a very diverse culture. The majority of its inhabitants are made up of predominantly white farmers and coloured and black farm labourers.
The “dop stelsel” (where alcohol was used to form part of farm labourers’ wages) has contributed to one of the highest incidences of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in the region. Crime statistics released for the period from April 2011 to March 2012 (Breede River Gazette 2 October 2012) states that drug and alcohol abuse are some of the largest factors contributing to increases in violent crimes in the Langeberg area. In one of the towns, though the crime rate is low in comparison to the other towns, the article states that within a 3 month period, burglaries have increased by 200%. The statistics also show an increase in drug related crime in all five towns during the period under review.
Establishment of LSAAG
LSAAG was established on 24 May 2012, with the primary purpose and objective being to effectively address substance abuse in the Langeberg Municipal region through collaborative networking, capacity building of service providers and the efficient utilization of resources. The services are centrally co-ordinated in order to manage and monitor existing and future LSAAG interventions and services, with a view to achieving the desired impact.
LSAAG’s key strategic alliances are with the Graham and Rhona Beck Development Trust, Social Transformation Action Defined (STAND), the Department of Social Development, S.A.P.S, Department of Health, Department of Education and the Cape Winelands Municipality, which play a key role in:
- Developing the LSAAG network and promoting co-ordination of services within the pillars of Awareness, Treatment and Aftercare
- Building partnerships between role-players in the Langeberg District
- Development of identified community support role players and support structures
The LSAAG structure does not fulfil a statutory role, but rather encompasses the collaborative input and support of all stakeholders involved. The LSAAG initiative is guided by the LSAAG Advisory Committee, which consists of non-permanent subject matter experts within the LSAAG network of NGOs, Private Sector, Government and Corporate stakeholders whose expertise is requested as required.
The Graham & Rhona Beck Development Trust who is the current anchor donor for the LSAAG Programme, appointed Social Transformation Action Defined (STAND) as the administrative platform on which to centrally co-ordinate and administrate the LSAAG projects and serves as the legal entity as registered Non Profit Organisation.