VIDEO AND GALLERY: Msimanga opens Hopeline

After two years of planning, Christ Community Centre’s Hopeline call centre was officially launched by Tshwane mayor, Solly Msimanga, on Monday.

During a press briefing at Sediba Hope Clinic near Church Square, Msimanga told journalists he hoped such an initiative would restore hope to the community.

Hopeline is a call centre run by NGO Christ Centred Community (C3) that helps people in distress.

“Hopeline is launched to bring hope to drug users. I also want car guards to be assisted as some of them happen to be drug users. We want to give them hope, get them cleaned up so that they can be restored back into society,” said Msimanga.

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He said it helped nobody from the city and its community to turn a blind eye when young people ‘bluetooth’, a new method of taking drugs where users share the blood of the one among them who can afford to buy drugs.

“It’s not helping if drug users get help and end up relapsing. I am inspired by a lady who handed her drugs over because she wanted to start on a clean slate,” he said.

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As part of this drug fighting campaign, Msimanga said the city would work with celebrities, local business and the public to fight the scourge.

“There are institutions with the necessary expertise and resources to address the scourge. Together, the NPOs received part of the R40 million from the City towards the fight against drugs. The service level agreements ensure that the institutions comply with the requirements as stipulated in the agreements and use the funds wisely and responsibly and to make a meaningful difference,” he said.

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Tshwane health MMC Sakkie Du Plooy said what would be most beneficial was for recovered users to find a job as this would help restore their dignity.

Hopeline co-founder and director David Mendes described the launch as a historic day for the city, for users and for the community.

“Today is historic because it marks the day the city takes charge as a collective towards substance users. We have a relationship with i-College to hire their graduates who we employ for a year as call centre agents, they play a crucial role in what we do,” said Mendes.

Hopeline co-founder and administrator and Alicia Hartley said she was humbled.

“It took two years of planning for us to get to where we are. Finally, we have come to a part where we can heal our city,” said Hartley.

 

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Tshegofatso Ngobeni
Journalist

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