Another condom scandal

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu has ordered investigators to formulate charges against a distributor linked to the illegal dumping of unused and defective condoms in the province.

About 30000 defective condoms were found strewn on the road near Ngonweni Primary School, near Durban, on Christmas Day.

In October, about 100000 unused condoms were also found scattered over a large stretch of land in the nearby Ntande area.

In both instances, the defective condoms were discovered by children playing on the roadside.

Authorities will now use the batch numbers of the latest find to track down the responsible distributor.

Mthimkhulu said he had consulted the province's MEC for health, Neliswa Nkonyeni.

The government-issued consignment of condoms are part of the batch that was recalled by the national Health Department a few months ago following widespread reports of irregular conduct by a standardisation official.

As in the first consignment find, authorities are not entirely clear as to who had dumped the condoms in the area.

However, there were strong indications that it could have been done by a contractor who was supposed to have transported defective condoms to an incinerator for destruction.

This after certain batches of the Choice range of condoms had been recalled by the department.

"This is clearly not a mistake but a deliberate act to force locals into using the defective condoms and kill themselves," Mthimkhulu said.

He said the department's Environment Management Inspectorate (EMI), known as Green Scorpions, visited the dump site and collected the evidence.

Charges of illegal dumping of medically hazardous waste in any area other than a recognised and designated landfill site or incinerator are being investigated.

"The continuing blatant disregard for public health rights of people living in this area should not go unpunished and we hope the police probe will yield immediate results so that the culprits could be brought to book.

"It is worrying that the discovered batch of the defective condoms seemed to be the same as that found in October.

"The investigation into the October illegal dumping is at an advanced stage and arrests are imminent as we have been able to trace the offender. We intend to hand over the Ngonweni docket to the police superintendent who is in charge of the first investigation," said Mthimkhulu.