Cocaine tea hits the shelves again
THE mysterious cocaine tea has made its way back onto the shelves in Polokwane and in Johannesburg, just two months after police removed it.
Police have acted swiftly and ensured the removal of Coca Tea from two chain stores in Limpopo and are determined to hunt down its distributors.
Coca Tea reportedly had so much cocaine in it that people drinking it would fail drug tests because it contains high levels of benzodiazepine.
In July, the Medicines Control Council launched an investigation into the tea, which included police raids to shops.
Police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said yesterday they had been alerted about the supposed health tea after a woman complained of dizziness moments after she drank it.
The woman had later consulted a doctor who conducted a test on her. Mulaudzi said both the doctor and the woman were perplexed to find out she had been drugged with cocaine.
"We then raided the two chain stores in Polokwane, a well-known grocery store and a leading pharmaceutical company, to remove all the sachets from the shelves," Mulaudzi said.
He said, however, that one of the companies had defied their instruction and returned the tea back to the shelves.
"The reason we removed the tea from the shelves was the realisation that it was harmful and we wanted to save people's lives," Mulaudzi said.
He said investigations were under way and that the company would have to answer for its conduct.
The tea bags, according to Mulaudzi, were taken for forensic investigations and had tested positive for cocaine.
"Thorough investigations ensued and all the endeavours to bring the perpetrators to book reached a cul-de-sac after the addresses stated at the back of the tea packet were false," he said.
Sowetan visited one pharmacy in Polokwane and found boxes of the tea still on the shelves.
The manager, identified only as Taaibosch, declined to comment but confirmed knowledge of reports that the tea contains cocaine.
However, other shops in town had complied with the police instruction.
Meanwhile, three branches of the same pharmaceutical company in Joburg confirmed having coca tea on their "vitamins" shelves in various flavours yesterday.
Mulaudzi added that the origin of the tea had not been established yet and further urged members of the community to refrain from buying the tea.
"Investigations to determine how the tea happened to be on the shelves of the said stores are at an advanced stage," Mulaudzi said.