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14. March 2014

Statement by Ambassador Tebogo Joseph Seokolo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa


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Distinguished delegates,

At the outset, we would like to join other delegations in congratulating His Excellency Ambassador Khaled Abdelrahman SHAMAA, Permanent Representative of Egypt on his appointment as the Chair of the 57th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. We thank Ambassador Shamaa for his stewardship of this session and pledge our full support for the successful outcome of this High Level Segment.

South Africa fully concurs with the Statement delivered on behalf of the African Group by the Permanent Representative of Morocco, Ambassador Ali EL MHAMDI and the Statement by Ambassador Aliyar Lebbe Abdul AZEEZ of Sri-Lanka on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.


The 52nd Session of the High Level Segment of the CND that was held in March 2009, resulted in the adoption of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.

Accordingly this landmark Declaration called upon the UNODC to convene this High Level Review in order to assess the implementation of the targets set in the Declaration.   Similarly  it was agreed that the Economic and Social Council should devote a high-level segment to a theme related to the world drug problem and that the General Assembly should hold a Special Session in 2016 to address the world drug problem.


We are gathered here in this High Level Segment to report progress on our individual and concerted efforts to combat and find collective solutions to a global problem.

South Africa is confident that with the necessary political will and combined efforts, it is possible for individual Member States and the international community to meet the 2019 targets in eliminating or reducing significantly the illicit cultivation of  opium poppy, coca bush and cannabis plants; the illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; and drug related health and social risks; the illicit production, manufacture, marketing and distribution of, and trafficking in, psychotropic substances, including synthetic drugs; the diversion of and illicit trafficking in precursors; as well as money-laundering related to illicit drugs. 

South Africa expresses its profound appreciation to the Executive Director of UNDOC for his report to this high-level review on the implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action. We share the Executive Director’s assessment that while many advances have been made in support of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action, many challenges remain.


As highlighted in the 2013 annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the increase in the illicit cultivation of cannabis plant remains one of the major challenges on the African continent.  Similarly, our countries are targeted for transit shipments by international drug networks.

The consequences of the drug problem on our communities, especially the youth, are devastating and well documented.

In order to comprehensively address these challenges South Africa has initiated the following actions, amongst others, to impede both demand and supply reduction of illicit drugs:

  • In 2013 South Africa adopted the National Drug Master Plan (2013-2017) which focuses on prevention, early intervention, treatment, after-care and reintegration. The Plan calls for the creation of a nationwide database to track drug crimes and a new asset forfeiture unit, as well as an independent police anti-corruption agency.
  • The establishment of the Central Drug Authority (CDA) is also a milestone to coordinate and promote activities aimed at combating substance abuse by way of integrated actions at the national, provincial, NGO & civil society sectors.
  • South Africa established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Combating Substance Abuse (IMC) focusing on the prevention of substance abuse to ensure integrated liaison between the nine (9) other Ministries.
  • In terms of legislation, the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (No. 70 of 2008) was promulgated in 2013 to promote prevention, early intervention, community based interventions, aftercare services and reintegration in all nine South African provinces.                                                                                 
  • The SA Police Service's elite Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) continues to play a pro-active role in drug demand and supply reduction efforts, through intensive intelligence-driven and court-directed undercover operations to identify and severely interdict inter-connected national and international drug trafficking, manufacturing and distribution activities.


Tackling the world drug problem is a common and shared responsibility that requires co-ordinated actions by the international community. In 2013 the African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013-2017) was adopted to intensify efforts among African states to counter the drug problem. The UNODC could play a supportive role in the implementation of this Plan of Action.

As we approach the 2019 deadline, South Africa believes that our actions should seek to:

  • reduce the overall magnitude of supply and drug demand;
  • efficiently address the health consequences of illicit drug use and illicit crop cultivation;
  • curtail the expansion and clandestine manufacture of synthetic stimulants and new psychoactive substances;
  • discourage the establishment of new potential markets and expanded drug-trafficking routes.

In conclusion, my delegation looks forward to the 2016 Special Session of the General Assembly and is confident that Member States will continue to contribute considerably to the successful implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action.

I thank you.


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