/ 6 September 2007

Govt: Five million condoms recalled

About five million condoms supplied by Zalatex have been collected since a recall and an additional 7,5-million condoms quarantined at the company’s warehouse, the Health Department said on Thursday.

This follows charges that Zalatex bribed an official at the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to approve inferior condoms.

Zalatex was one of seven private companies awarded a tender to support free condom distribution in the country.

SABS commercial executive John Stanbury said some of the measures taken since the allegations surfaced included suspension of the employee involved and tightening and changing of management.

The SABS also audited the other six companies, three of which were international, and was satisfied about their quality standards.

However, recent batches of condoms supplied by at least three of the companies would be retested over the next week as ”anomalies” were found.

Director General of Health Thami Mseleku refused to provide the names of these three companies.

An urgent meeting would be held next week with the tender board where the contract with Zalatex would be reviewed.

The Health Department wanted the contract to be cancelled and for the company to be blacklisted.

Mseleku said it was not easy to determine the cost of the recalling as the process was not yet complete.

The department was hoping to collect at least eight million condoms from the public, Mseleku said. — Sapa