Johannesburg - Crates full of medicine were found when police raided a Diepkloof, Soweto, home on Tuesday night, believed to be proceeds from a hijacking hours earlier.
The containers of medicine were in dozens of United Pharmaceutical Distributors (UPD) crates, apparently from UPD in Roodepoort. Bundles of delivery receipts, dated Monday, July 7, were with the boxes. Most seemed to be addressed to pharmacies in the North West.
On Tuesday night police on the scene were unable to confirm a link with any hijacking. However it seems likely the goods were from a UPD delivery truck.
UPD head of operations Mark Mountjoy said one of their trucks had been hijacked on Tuesday morning. It was reported to police. He said nobody was injured and the drivers and the truck were recovered.
“Our contingency plans kicked in,” said Mountjoy.
The matter is now the subject of both a UPD internal investigation and a police investigation.
Last night in the Diepkloof house, police expressed shock at the theft of medicine. “People are dying, they are waiting for their medication,” commented one police officer at the scene.
The haul was found in a double garage in a Zone 4 home .
Gauteng police said that two men were arrested at the scene and another two fled, jumping over a wall at the property.
Police were alerted to the haul of apparently stolen goods at about 6pm. “It was a tip-off,” said Colonel Noxolo Kweza.
When police arrived, the dozens of cardboard boxes and plastic crates holding the drugs had already been offloaded.
“We understand the garage was full,” she said.
There were no initial estimates for the value of the goods.
Police said it had not been established where the medicine had been obtained.
“We suspect that there might be a hijacking of a delivery truck,” said Kweza.
Police also seized two vehicles outside the house, a minibus and a Nissan Micra.
Last night police brought in a truck to remove the seized goods, while members of the family from the home waited inside.
Delivery notes were addressed to pharmacies mainly in North West, including Brits, Zeerust, Sun City, Mogwase, Rustenburg and Amandelbult Hospital at Rustenburg Platinum Mines.
The house where the goods were found is a large double storey used by a large family. The elderly homeowners live there, along with several of their adult children.
The garage was allegedly used by the adult twin sons of the family, who were not home when the police arrived.
At least one of the men who were arrested is believed to be a friend of the twins.
Other family members at the scene denied any knowledge of the boxes, saying they had no access to the garage and no knowledge of what was in it.
A family member said she was in the kitchen cooking when police arrived. She said her brothers built the house and the rest of the family “just live here”.
“I have no control over anything, I just stay in my bedroom upstairs,” she said.
Her brothers were not there to explain. “They are not here to answer. I doubt if they’ll answer me even if I ask,” she said.