Defence Minister needs to account on R215m spent on unproven Covid-19 drugs

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence
22 Oct 2020 in News

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to give urgent account to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans regarding reports that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spent R215 million on importing unproven Covid-19 medication.

What is more, a letter from South African Military Health Services (SAMHS) seems to indicate that the order for the Heberon Alpha R 2B, also known as Interferon, did not come from them and as such has yet to be accepted as stock as this particular medication is not registered for use by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

The military’s logistics department reportedly paid R35 million for the first of three consignments of medication currently in the military health base depot.

It is simply shocking that the SANDF would spend R215 million of taxpayers’ money on medication not approved by the Department of Health. Who within SANDF approved the order of this consignment without doing due diligence? And why did the SANDF procure this huge consignment without consultation with health officials?

The DA will also raise this situation when the Auditor-General of South Africa (AG) appears before Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans to report on Covid spending.