Veliswa Mvenya MPL
In the Eastern Cape there is currently no state-funded rehabilitation Centre for children under the age of 18.
As part of Child Protection Week, the DA will use the committee meetings at the legislature to demand the opening of a rehab centre in the province given the immense social issues faced by children here.
But the campaign for a rehab centre in the Eastern Cape must continue, and it is a fight for everyone who values the rights of children to dignity.
Research has shown that most youth perpetrators of violent crimes were under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of committing criminal offences.
The Eastern Cape has seen a rise in sexual assault cases and other crimes involving child offenders.
Many of these youth are from abusive and dysfunctional family backgrounds where alcohol abuse is rife; they in turn then also become trapped in the cycle of substance abuse and violence.
They start experimenting with drugs from a young age as a mechanism to escape from their undesirable home circumstances and at the end, they become addicted.
Many innocent children and adults are victims of crime daily under the hands of youth with substance abuse problems.
Drugs should not be left to destroy the lives of many children who could have otherwise made valuable contributions to society.