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Cape Town – The Black Farmers Association of SA (BFASA) says it will not give up until medicinal cannabis licenses are fair as they marched to the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) offices in Pretoria yesterday.
BFASA President Dr. Lennox Mtshagi said they were told by the Director General of the Department of Health, Dr. Sandile Buthelezi, met outside Sahpra’s offices, who had received her memorandum and promised to provide feedback.
The BFASA has beaten the regulator for what it allegedly called the “handover” of the local cannabis industry to “white monopoly colonialists” in the way it issued medical cannabis licenses. The organization said black people, including indigenous peoples, monarchs and traditional healers, have been excluded.
“Sahpra should be prosecuted as BEE is not used when issuing licenses. We will write affidavits and bring charges. We also told the DG that we would provide the record of the allegations made by Sahpra, ”said Mtshagi.
In its memorandum, the organization said Sahpra used the apartheid-era law of 1965 to allow them to license mostly whites and foreigners, with the intentional exclusion of indigenous people.
Mtshagi added, “We had meetings and Sahpra agreed to many things that they are now running away from. They were on our farms checking the space for the licenses and then suddenly in November they started crouching and diving. “
Sahpra has disproved claims that they had a tendency towards white bias.
In a statement, the regulator said: “Sahpra treats all applicants equally and with respect and does not exercise prejudice in its dealings with anyone involved, including all applicants.
Claiming that the Chair of the Sahpra Board of Directors, Prof. Helen Rees, and the CEO, Dr. Boitumelo Semete-Makoktlela, on the instructions of the Minister of Health Dr. Issuing Zweli Mkhize medicinal cannabis licenses to wealthy whites is far from the truth.
“The minister is in no way involved in Sahpra’s operational processes such as issuing licenses, and he has not issued such a restrictive policy. Sahpra clearly denies this flawed claim. “
The regulator said the process of obtaining a license to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes is strict.
“There has to be a standardization of cannabis varieties and it has to be ensured that plants can be grown under strict safety conditions,” said Sahpra.
The Ministry of Health did not confirm receipt of the memorandum on time.