State recalls another batch of defective contraceptives

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

The Department of Health is recalling millions of condoms provided to the government by a second local manufacturer.

This time, it is recalling all condoms supplied by Kohrs Medical with the code 6809/MED/.

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang announced yesterday that condoms supplied by Kohrs Medical are defective and need to be returned.

"At least five batches from Kohrs Medical were sampled and failed an air-burst test. Based on these findings, the department is recalling the condoms," she said.

This is the second recall of condoms within two months. The department made its first move in August after Sowetan exposed a scam in which an official from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) was bribed to approve condoms produced by Zalatex.

The condoms had failed to meet the required standards.

Tshabalala-Msimang said the two incidents involving Zalatex and Kohrs should not be allowed to harm the progress made in promoting condom use in South Africa.

"Millions of condoms from Zalatex have already been recalled. We are appealing to the public to do the same with the Kohrs Medical condoms. We will no longer procure any stock from Kohrs," said the minister.

Zalatex and Kohrs Medical are two of the seven companies awarded tenders to supply the free condoms the government distributes around the country.

Kohrs Medical has supplied the department with five million condoms. A million of these were still in their stores, but four million had already been distributed.

Tshabalala-Msimang would not divulge how many defective condoms were in the public domain. She said her department was gathering data from clinics and other public places where the condoms were distributed.

"As soon as we have that information, we will avail it to the public. Investigations like this take time," she said.

Two weeks ago, about 100000 unused condoms were found dumped in Inanda, north of Durban. The department has since established that these condoms were produced by Kohrs.

Police are investigating and nobody has been arrested.