Wedge Gardens slams dagga ruling

Wedge Gardens substance abuse treatment centre outside of Johannesburg has reacted with dismay to the Constitutional Court’s ruling on September 18 that permits people to cultivate and use cannabis ‘in private’ and for their own use.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo ruled the personal use of dagga is not a criminal offence.

Sanca, to which Wedge Gardens is affiliated, said in reaction that South Africa is already crippled with the highest percentages of addiction in the world (World Health Organisation report 2017).

Wedge Garden’s Adèl Grobbelaar said it was a sad day for South Africa. She said that while dagga is now freely available, rehabilitation is not. There are in fact insufficient treatment centres and private therapy is relatively expensive.

She added that a can of worms had been opened in terms of monitoring the use of  dagga to ensure that it meets the criteria of the ruling and that children under the age of 18 are not using the drug.

“This opens the door to drug dealers to make even more money off addicts. Often, the dagga you buy is not ‘clean’ but is laced with various other drugs that cause the acceleration of the addiction process. The more the dealers sell, the more money they make.

“The fact remains that dagga is a gateway drug to other drugs; recent research within our clinics has once again made this very clear. Now, youth coming from law-abiding families who previous were less likely to access dagga will more easily be exposed to the drug.”

While there have long been arguments that dagga is medicinal, just like any medicine, there is a real threat of addiction when not taken in moderation.

“Also concerning is the reality that the younger people are when they start using dagga, the higher the possibility of developing psychiatric conditions.

“It is indeed a very sad day because a high percentage of our youth are going to bear the consequences of this ruling.”

Sanca added that smoking and using cannabis in one’s personal space could violate the rights of children and others. The stricter tobacco rules being proposed in the Tobacco Draft Bill are also at odds with this ruling, said Sanca.

The organisation said that one third of all patients treated by Sanca nationally used cannabis alone or in combination with other substances and an internal study at Sanca confirmed that nearly 60% of clients started with cannabis and then moved to other substances.

Any change in legislation that may have an impact on the citizens of a country necessitates that the widest possible consultation takes place to consider the impact on crime, health and welfare and education, concluded Sanca.

Contact details: 

Sanca National: 011 892 3829


Wedge Gardens: 011 430 0320 / 071 690 4942


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Recognition for Wedge Gardens trio

Three Rand Aid Association employees from Wedge Gardens were recognised at the NPO’s long service awards on August 23.

Since Rand Aid implemented the awards 13 years ago, 1 019 awards representing 9 685 years of service have been handed out.

At this year’s awards, 32 staff members were recognised for a combined 305 years of service, ranging from five years to 10, 15, 20 and 25 years.

“I thank each staff member for the devoted service they give to Rand Aid and its residents,” said Rae.

The awards were presented by John Robinson, the chairman of the Rand Aid board.

The Wedge Gardens recipients were Patrick Mahlelehlele and Paul Swanepoel for 20 years; and Roland Chapman for 15.

Patrick Mahlelehlele

Patrick started off as a Reid A orderly. He then became the laundry attendant at Wedge Gardens and also did escort duties to hospitals. He is a very quiet, even-tempered guy who does what is expected of him. He enjoys his sport channels.

Paul Swanepoel

Affectionately known as ‘Grumpy, Paul is a very hardworking plumber and builder who is always on duty and always ready to assist residents and staff alike. He is an all-rounder who knows every nook and cranny in the village… every geyser and every lock and all the blockages!

Paul takes great pride in his work and prefers to manage call-outs to Elphin Lodge himself rather than leave things to the after-hours team. He’s never been concerned about his weekend being disrupted by blockages or breakdowns.

A man happy in his work and always concerned about village and care centre maintenance issues, he never knocks off without checking that no urgent jobs remain.

Paul’s not a smiley man but he is direct, competent and, under the gruff exterior, a very caring man.

Roland Chapman

Roland started off being an orderly in Reid B on the old premises and when it changed to the Ibis ward he took charge of the kitchen in the ward. The ladies back then loved him and enjoyed being served by him.

He then moved into the store where he is still today. Roland does an awesome job and is extremely helpful. He always has a joke or two up his sleeve and loves teasing whoever crosses paths with him.  He is well known and loved in the organisation.

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