A panel is set to determine whether the Military Ombud should investigate the defence department's R200-million deal to import an unregistered Covid-19 drug, Heberon Interferon-Alpha-2B, from Cuba.
News24 has seen a letter confirming the Ombud's consideration to investigate the case after it received a complaint from DA MP Kobus Marais.
Marais is also the party's spokesperson on defence.
In October, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) were hit by allegations that it had spent R215-million on the drug.
Interferon Alpha-2B, which is manufactured by a Cuban/Chinese company, is believed to be effective in the fight against the coronavirus. Interferons are proteins used in the body as part of its natural defence against viruses.
According to the letter, the case would be presented to a panel to determine whether the Ombud would assume jurisdiction over the case.
The letter, dated 24 November, stated the case would be presented within the next three weeks.
The case has also been allocated to an official responsible for finalising the complaint registration process.
Auditor-General (AG) Tsakani Maluleke last week touched on the Department of Defence's procurement.
The AG's office identified several shortcomings in the planning, procurement, transportation, warehousing and recording of medicines.
Maluleke, in particular, found irregularities with the procurement and import of the unregistered medical drug from Cuba.
Approximately 40% of the vials were exposed to temperature variations that could have compromised the integrity of the drug. This, Maluleke said, might result in these drugs not being useable and the money spent being wasted.
In October, News24 reported on a confidential letter from the SA Military Health Services which showed defence officials had authorised invoices of around R215-million for three consignments of the drug in April.
The AG found invoices to the value of R260-million. According to these invoices and evidence, goods would have come through by 17 August.
More than 840 000 doses were apparently ordered.
The first consignment of interferon was 130 000 dosages that expire in April 2022. It is understood that interferon application is three times per day for five days, thus indicating that the first consignment would be sufficient to treat approximately 8 600 patients.
In the same month, there were invoices for R230-million, but only R34.86-million had so far been paid.
Last month, DA MP Kobus Marais requested an investigation.
"The department also seemingly failed to follow the proper protocols related to monitoring the cold chain storage and transportation of the imported drugs, and there are serious concerns around the integrity, and subsequent usability, of a large number of the imported vials that have yet to be addressed," Marais said.