DA to take on Mbeki over Virodene charge

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

The DA is to meet President Thabo Mbeki about allegations that his office continued to fund the development of Virodene - four years after the controversial drug was banned in South Africa.

"The DA will be asking questions to the president to explain these allegations, and particularly to account for the fact that he previously denied that any of the reported transactions between his office and the makers of Virodene actually took place," said DA MP Mike Waters yesterday.

Waters said if it transpired the president had lied about the matter, "then it is a serious matter and one that raises important questions about his position".

His comments follow reports in the weekend media that about R40million had flowed from the Union Buildings and the Johannesburg office of an ANC-linked businessman to the developers of Virodene, Olga and Zigi Visser, in 2000 and 2001.

This was four years after the Medicine Control Council (MCC) had highlighted Virodene as highly toxic and potentially lethal. The MCC also warned that the substance was more likely to inflame, rather than curb, HIV.

The presidency has denied making any such contributions

The ANC got entangled in the Virodene saga when it was discovered in 1997 that the party held a 6percent share in Cryopreservation Technologies, a Virodene-linked company.