Modise: Heads will roll over irregular procurement of Cuban COVID drug

Minister Thandi Modise made her first appearance as the minister before Parliament's defence committee and vowed to get to the bottom of the procurement of the experimental drug without approval.

FILE: Defence Minister Thandi Modise. Picture:@ParliamentofRSA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Defence Minister Thandi Modise on Wednesday said defence force officials responsible for the irregular procurement of a COVID-19 therapeutic drug from Cuba would be fired.

Modise made her first appearance as the minister before Parliament's defence committee and vowed to get to the bottom of the procurement of the experimental drug without approval.

Modise said it didn't matter whether the Heberon COVID-19 therapeutic drug was effective if proper procedures were not followed.

“We procured what we shouldn’t have in the first place without following the processes. Whether the drug’s efficacy is good or not is beside the point.”

The committee heard how the state still owes Cuba R180 million for the drug consignment. Almost 1 million vials of the drug were also not approved by the regulator.

Modise said officials would have to be fired for the irregular procurement.

“We are not going to excuse this because we will be setting a bad precedence. So, chairperson, you can be assured that heads will roll on this matter.”

The department will report back to the National Assembly in three weeks.

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