THE department of health is to investigate Morokane Choma, a businessman who runs a Ceragem clinic in the Johannesburg city centre.
Ceragem is a South Korean thermal bed that Morokane touts as being able to heal high blood pressure, HIV-Aids and other serious diseases.
HIV activist Nathan Geffen, who is busy writing a book on medical quacks, said: "Ceragem is a company run by charlatans taking advantage of vulnerable people."
Health department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said: "There are a lot of people who claim to be able to cure diseases but the public has to be careful. We will send inspectors to the establishment and we will take legal action if we find any fraud."
Ceragem is not registered with the South African Bureau of Standards.
People queue as early as 2am to have their 40-minute on a bed that apparently heals all diseases.
Choma runs an establishment at Newgate Mall in the Johannesburg CBD where people can come to sample the Ceragem.
The "clinic" has at least 20 beds that patients occupy for 40 minutes.
While waiting for their turn on the thermal beds, patients listen to testimonies of those who have been "helped" by the bed.
"I could hardly walk and doctors could not help in any way, but thanks to Ceragem I have my life back," one man testifies.
When Sowetan visited Ceragem as patients, Choma explained: "All the diseases come from the spine. If blood is not flowing properly from the spine, that is when people get sick."
He said the machine costs R9000 but it is now on special for R7200.
But when Sowetan called him and explained who we were he changed his sales pitch.
"We cannot say that Ceragem heals. We can say that the testimonies show that it works. We are not doctors and we cannot tell people not to take their pills. It is registered in the USA under the food and whatever."
The US Food and Drug Administration registered Ceragem for the treatment of stiffness, minor muscle aches and joint pains, and a temporary increase in local circulation.
In 2005, the attorney-general of Texas banned the makers of Ceragem from making inflated claims, such as being able to cure cancer, epilepsy, obesity and heart disease.