n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - The South African National Drug Master Plan 2013-2017 : a critical review

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



In August 2013 the South African government released the newly revised National Drug Master Plan 2013-2017. The plan is intended to provide a central reference for the country's drug regulation and elimination efforts. As this article documents, the plan is however riddled with internal inconsistencies and impractical resolutions. As a result, it will be extremely difficult to implement and unlikely to find utility in many South African cities and communities. The authors further argue that the plan has been designed in such a way that it absolves the government of any responsibility should it fail. It does so by subtly ensuring that blame for drug use can continue to be placed on the individual. This requires a punitive understanding of drug use, which is in direct contrast to the stated framework of the plan. As such, we argue that while the plan speaks the language of reform, it is actually far more concerned with continuing to treat drug regulation in South Africa as a matter of criminal justice.

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