Cuban COVID-19 drug import investigations continue


The Office of the Auditor-General and the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) are to be given “space” to better deal with the apparent illegal importation of an unregistered drug for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

The “space” is attributed to Cyril Xaba, chair of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) following an unsatisfactory meeting on Wednesday.

According to a Parliamentary Communication Services statement, the PCDMV “resolved to enable the Office of Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke space to conclude its special audit on the spending of Covid-19 funds”.

“Similarly the committee resolved to give SAHPRA space to deal with, together with the Department of Defence (DoD), regulatory lapses and the way forward regarding the medication.”

It goes on to state the committee “is hopeful” all investigations “commenced” in connection with the over R260 million spent on Cuban Heberon will “reach conclusions timeously”.

Xaba and his co-committee members will be provided with reports of the “various investigations” when they are complete.

Government media in the form of the SABC, reported after Wednesday’s PCDMV meeting, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has set up a team to “establish the facts” around the apparent illegal importation of the drug.

“Obviously there has to be a consequence where procurement processes have fallen short of non-compliance with procurement processes,” the national broadcaster quotes her as saying.