Department of Social Development
The National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) 2019-2024 was launched on 26 June 2020.
According to the social development department, the NDMP is a blueprint for combating the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse which has reached epidemic proportions in South Africa.
In a statement announcing the launch, the department indicated that the “overarching goal of the National Drug Master Plan is to prevent drug use before it starts, early intervention to ensure substance users receive treatment and rehabilitation services and reducing the demand for illicit drugs”.
The department added that government remains resolved to tackle the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse in South Africa.
Consequently, the Central Drug Authority was set up to tackle the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse.
Cabinet approved the NDMP 2019-2024 in October 2019.
In its statement, cabinet described the NDMP as proposing “seven strategic goals to combat the abuse of drugs within our communities. It also proposes dealing with the reduction of the demand for drugs, tighter control of drugs intended for therapeutic use, as well as governance, leadership and accountability of the execution of the NDMP”.
The NDMP focuses on a situational analysis, policy shift on understanding addiction, stakeholder engagement, strategic intent, outcomes and target populations, review of plan and monitoring and evaluation framework.
As regards cannabis, the NDMP refers to the Constitutional Court judgement on 18 September 2018 that declared legislation criminalizing the use, possession, purchase and cultivation of cannabis unconstitutional.
The court ruled that the Medicines and Related Substances Act and Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act had to be reviewed within 24 months.
According to the NDMP, the relevant departments as outlined in the ruling are currently in the process of “aligning specific sections on the cited legislations to comply with the ruling, and to make sure that there is no ambiguity in the possession and private use of Cannabis”.
The NDMP will also facilitate an action plan and provide remedies and interventions to be implemented to curb Cannabis abuse.
“The success of the implementation of NDMP 2019 – 2024 also depends on the continued support of the government, communities, and the business sector to provide the necessary resources, infrastructure, and accountability.”