Sahpra to probe Lindiwe Sisulu’s alleged claims about Jessie Duarte cancer medication from Russia


  • Sahpra is investigating claims that Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu secured medication for Jessie Duarte.
  • Duarte died on Sunday after battling cancer.
  • Sisulu has since denied that she secured any medication.

The South African Health Products and Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) is investigating allegations that Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu secured medication for the late ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte.

Sahpra said it was “looking into the reports in the media” alleging that Sisulu had secured medicine for Duarte, and was engaging with the Sisulu’s office.

Sisulu reportedly stated that she had secured medication for Duarte while on a trip to Russia, but it had not arrived in time. She has since denied these claims.

Sahpra said there were numerous oncology medicines available in South Africa, and processes in place to allow doctors to apply for the use of unregistered medicines, which is governed by strict rules and guidelines.

Sahpra said in a statement: 

In an effort to enable access to the specific medicines, which vary depending on the type of cancer, Sahpra reviews the application and makes a decision within a period of three working days.

Only registered organisations were allowed to import medications, the statement added.

Sisulu’s spokesperson Steve Motale confirmed that her office had received a letter from Sahpra on Wednesday.

“Minister Sisulu was invited to Russia by her counterpart and, whilst there, visited a cancer medical facility. It is a nuclear-based facility that does not dispense medication at all. As such the minister did not bring any medicine back to the country,” he said.

“Minister Sisulu is currently mourning the loss of a sister and a comrade, [and] will not entertain any further enquiries on this matter,” he said. 


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