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Johannesburg - Two health department officials were arrested for selling ARV medication during a sting operation in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, the Hawks said on Thursday.
“The Hawks received information from a person taking ARVs who said two officials were selling the drugs on the streets of Johannesburg and surrounding areas,” spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said.
“Patients were turned down at the Esselen Street Clinic saying there were no more ARV drugs. Then they were later contacted by two general workers who said they could sell them some drugs.”
Ramaloko said they were selling the medication - which was available at no cost to patients - for between R80 and R100 a box of ARVs.
The Hawks crime intelligence and flying squad arrested the men in Joubert Park on Wednesday after they sold the medication to undercover officers.
They faced charges of theft and would appear in the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court soon, said Ramaloko.
The Gauteng health department welcomed the arrests.
“We welcome the arrests and we hope that the investigations will help us to understand the theft that has been taking place,” spokesman Simon Zwane said.
“Those implicated must face the consequences of their actions.”
Zwane said the department would put measures in place to prevent a recurrence.
The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng also welcomed the arrests.
“It is disgusting that officials abuse their position and exploit the desperation of HIV/Aids patients,” provincial leader John Moodey said in a statement.
“The DA trusts that the officials will face the full might of the law.” - Sapa