Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Cape Town: mandrax tablets worth R8.7 million seized

2 min read

A  joint operation by the Western Cape and Gauteng chapters of the South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SANEB) resulted in the seizure of mandrax drugs with an estimated street value of R8.7 million.

Police spokesperson Zinzi Hani said the bust dealt a blow to the illegal drug trade in the province.


Hani explained that the law enforcement agencies had received information about “an alleged parcel containing 250 000 mandrax tablets being delivered at the Cape Town Airport Industria from Germiston.”

“The team intercepted the vehicle transporting the consignment and further information led them to a residence in Bosbok Street, Parow. A search was conducted upon arrival and a 47-year-old was arrested.”

The suspect is due to appear at the Bellville Magistrate Court on Monday the 30th November 2020.

The Hawks acting provincial head commended the team’s efforts in their fight against illegal drugs and the continuous dismantling of drug networks in the Western Cape.


Mandrax, with its active ingredient methaqualone, is an old school drug which has been abused in South Africa from the ’70s.

It was developed and manufactured in the ’60s to treat sleeping disorders, anxiety, and hypertension. It was banned and termed illegal in the ’70s due to the psychological dependencies and the addictive substance that it had become.

Mandrax became even more addictive when it was crushed into a powdered form and mixed with dagga (marijuana) and smoked through a broken-off bottleneck (white pipe).

During the ’70s, the main source of Mandrax importation was from India.


As head of the apartheid government’s Project Coast, the chemical and biological warfare division of the SADF, from 1981 to 1993, Dr Wouter Basson allegedly oversaw the creation of poisons and biological weapons that would only poison black people, of sedating anti-apartheid soldiers who were taken on death flights and dropped into the ocean and hoarding enough cholera to start epidemics, the Mail and Guardian reported.

During a Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in the ’90s, it emerged that Basson manufactured Mandrax, Ecstasy, and other drugs used to sedate South African Defence Force (SADF) prisoners during apartheid.

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