Five suspects who were nabbed at OR Tambo International airport – in separate incidents – after they were found with R6 million worth of unregistered medicine appeared before the Kempton Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The matter was postponed to Wednesday and Thursday for the outcome of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision.
This comes after South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs and Excise officials apprehended foreign nationals entering South Africa with R6 million worth of tablets suspected to be Ivermectin.
An earlier statement by the South African Police Services indicated that six people from India were arrested.
“In the past two weeks, the team’s collaboration has led to the arrest of six people and the confiscation of unregistered medicine worth a market value of R6 million.
“The unregistered medicine which are [sic] mainly in a tablet form are [sic] believed to have been imported for sale purposes and would have been utilized in the treatment of the Covid-19 virus.
“In all incidents, the six people which include two women and four men who are of Indian descent, had just entered into the country from India,” said spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe.
The first incident took place at the airport on Wednesday, 13 January, this suspect is currently out on bail.
The second incident took place on Tuesday last week which led to the arrest of two male suspects, both are still in custody.
The latest arrest took place on Thursday where three suspects [two women and one male] were arrested, all three are still in custody.
Five suspects appeared in court today, of which three are due back in court on Wednesday and the remaining two are due back in court on Thursday. All five are in custody.
The group are facing charges relating to the contravention of the Medicines and related Substances Act 101 of 1965 including being in possession of unregistered medicines without authorisation and importing medicines without a licence from the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).
“According to section 22(c) of the Medicines Act, anyone who wishes to import medicines into the country must have written authorization from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).
“Members of the public are therefore reminded that those who are found to be in contravention of this law will be apprehended and brought before a court of law,” Mathe concluded.