Social Development hits back at DA Limpopo for ‘misleading’ statement »

POLOKWANE – The Ministry of Social Development has called a statement by the Democratic Alliance (DA) Limpopo on the Seshego treatment center “misleading and lacking in substance”.

On Monday, DA Limpopo spokesperson for social development, Katlego Phala, said the party had written to MEC Nkakareng Rakgaole to “urgently address the low admission rate and other issues at the treatment center in Seshego”.

Phala alleged that the center has only been operational since late 2018 and has not been able to admit patients at full capacity since its inception.

“During the 4 years of operation, it only reached full capacity for one year,” reads its statement.

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Phala also alleged that there was no dedicated doctor at the center and said the department had spent less than R2,595 million on the substance abuse, prevention and rehabilitation sub-programme during the l 2021/2022 financial year, among other allegations.

Social development spokesman Witness Tiva said the prosecutor’s statement gave the impression that the department had done no work to help people with substance abuse problems and called it a “political stunt cheap”.

Tiva added that the statement was released before the MEC had a chance to respond.

“The department wants to state categorically that drug treatment is not just limited to admission to Seshego treatment center. The Department offers its services through two rehabilitation treatment options: outpatient and inpatient,” he said.

Tiva explained that social workers work closely with nonprofits such as Sanca, which the department funds for outpatient treatment options.

“In the past fiscal year, the department managed to help 72 service users through inpatient treatment and 247 through outpatient treatment,” he said.

Regarding the issue of budget underspend, Tiva said there has been a re-prioritization of the budget as the department had to implement a budget cut of R198 million to go to the National Treasury for the contribution to the fight against Covid-19.

“Seshego treatment center only spent the last quarter of the previous fiscal year without a doctor, who handles admissions, but our nurses were still able to help service users with detoxification and outpatient care. This was during the period when we were reviewing our memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health,” he explained.

Tiva said the low admission rate at the center is attributed to people not showing up to seek help.

“The drug treatment process is voluntary and the department cannot force people to be assisted unless there is a court order directing us to admit patients,” he said. .

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Joel C. Hicks