/ 31 August 2007

SABS unwraps audit of condom department

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is auditing its condom department after a manager at the bureau was accused of certifying defective condoms in exchange for cash.

”On the basis of the allegations, we did an immediate check and we are covering the other companies,” the bureau’s general manager for food and health, Mike McNerney, said on Friday.

Employees of the condom supplier Latex Surgical Products (LSP) are suspected of having bribed an SABS official to approve condoms that did not meet quality standards.

LSP is one of seven condom manufacturers the SABS deals with and which supplies condoms to the Health Department.

McNerney said an audit team was working on all records going back to 2006.

”We have to be sure when a case like this arises. When there’s fraud there’s an immediate suspicion [that other parts of the department could be affected].”

”This is obviously a major dent to our credibility. Unfortunately, the person was the manager of the section.”

The Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court has postponed 36-year-old Sphiwe Fikizolo’s case to October 10. He faces charges of fraud and corruption and was out on bail of R2 000.

SABS spokesperson Erno Botes said the brands to look out for are: Ultramour; LSP; Makoya; Randy Rat; Condom Concept; Positions; and African Skins.

Also affected is the Department of Health’s ”Choice” brand, bearing manufacturer’s lot numbers starting with 4308/ZLX/.

”The SABS has instructed Latex Surgical Products to recall the above branded condoms and SABS confirms that it is taking legal action against LSP in relation to the non-conforming products,” Botes said. — Sapa