The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) plans to return all the vials of COVID-19 drug Heberon, which it borrowed and imported from Cuba by using illegal means.
The Chief of the South African National Defence Forces, General Rudzani Maphwanya, has ensured the Parliament that we have returned all of the vials of Cuba-based COVID-19 drug.
General Maphwanya further said, “The SANDF had coordination with the South Africa Health Products Regulatory Authority (Saphra). I want to add we have returned all that was required to be returned. Saphra has received a report of this also.”
In December last year, Saphra has released military bosses with a request to provide proof regarding the return back of drugs to Cuba or face having it destroyed.
In April 2021, the SANDF spent around R200 million to import Heberon Alpha R 28, which a Cuban-Chinese company manufactured.
Meanwhile, there is almost no scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of this drug against dealing with COVID-19, and it is not even approved for being used in South Africa.
As per the inter-ministerial committee scrutinizing the case, Cuban state-owned company Tecnoimport had issued three invoices for three consignments to SANDF.
Around R33 496 973.60 has been paid so far, as the invoice was on the basis of rand/dollar exchange rate at the time of payment.
Still, two other invoices for a second and third consignment, which amounts to around $10.9 million and $2 million, have not yet been paid.