Health officials in KwaZulu-Natal are working closely with the police to find out who is responsible for dumping tens of thousands of defective condoms at Inanda, north of Durban.
The government-issued consignment was part of the batch that was recalled by the Health Department a few months ago, following widespread reports of irregular conduct by a standardisation official who allegedly approved the defective condoms.
On Saturday, residents alerted police when they found children playing with the condoms.
Spokesman for the provincial health department Leon Mbanjwa said they were shocked.
"We cannot understand how the condoms could be dumped. It is our understanding that the national department had made stringent plans to have all the defective condoms taken to the warehouse in Pretoria after the scandal into the irregularities by the standardisation officer," Mbanjwa said.
He said he suspected the illegal dumping might be an attempt "to get rid of evidence".
"This is serious. We have asked investigators to provide us with the batch numbers so that we can trace the contractor who is responsible for dumping the condoms," he said.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu said yesterday that tough legal action would be taken against the culprit or culprits.
Mthimkhulu and a member of the environmental management inspectorate, the Green Scorpions, visited the scene at the weekend and found condoms scattered all over the street. Some were not sealed.
Police spokesman Phindile Hadebe said a case had been opened at Inanda police station.
The person or persons responsible for the action is, or are, in contravention of Section 30 of the Environmental Conservation Act.
The act regulates the dumping of medically hazardous waste and the dumping of waste in a non-designated area.