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Church defends its R1 mln stash of scheduled medicines
22 Mar 2011
Chris Ndaliso

THE Church of the Holy Ghost yesterday denied that its Reverend Cyril Mhlonipheni Ngcobo is involved in illegally dispensing scheduled medicines to the community.

Ngcobo was arrested by the crime investigating unit of the SA Police Force after medicines worth R1 million were found in his office.

He was charged with contravening the Medicines Act. He appeared in the Hammarsdale Magistrate’s Court last week and was granted R6 000 bail.

Church spokesperson Ranjeni Munusamy said the church “has structured the provision of medical care for its leaders within legislation and accepted practices of the Medicines Act”.

The controversial Munusamy was linked to Schabir Shaik and the Friends of Jacob Zuma group before she became a spokesperson for Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande. She now runs a public relations agency, which was hired by the church.

In a statement Munusamy said Ngcobo is a “respected and valued member of the church’s leadership and the congregation has full confidence in his innocence”.

“We did this in the interest of our church community and the welfare of its leaders, fully cognizant of legal regulations around medical care,” reads the statement.

Munusamy said of the charges, “The church cannot comment on the merits of the criminal case.

“They will set everything straight during the trial. Their understanding was that they were fully compliant with the legal regulations.”

Health spokesperson Chris Maxon said the medicines found in Ngcobo’s office were meant to be distributed by a public health facility.

“These are scheduled drugs, which were supposed to be distributed by qualified people in the public health facilities [hospitals and clinics[.

“They [the church[ should tell us what constitutes them to be a public health facility,” Maxon said yesterday.

The case was postponed to June 24.

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