Lifestyle & Belief

South Africa recalls condoms distributed at ANC celebrations


Chinese people view condoms at a condom exhibition on April 26, 2005 in Shanghai, China.


ChinaPhotos/Gary Zhu

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Ahead of the ruling African National Congress party's big 100-year anniversary bash earlier this month, more than a million condoms were distributed to hotels, bars and restaurants in anticipation of wild times by ANC cadres.

But after complaints that the Choice brand condoms were leaky, South African health authorities have announced a recall.

This means 1.35 million condoms that had been cleared by the South Africa Bureau of Standards are being withdrawn.

A leading activist group, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), said it heard complaints about porous condoms, and condoms that burst during sex, Johannesburg newspaper City Press reported.

Or as the City Press headline said: "ANC party centenary condoms filled with ‘pricks’."

More from GlobalPost: South Africa: ANC celebrates 100th birthday

While the condoms have yet to be subjected to lab tests, the Free State health department decided to be proactive and recall the entire batch of 8,700 boxes.

“There is no reason for people to panic,” spokesperson Jabu Mbalula told City Press.

But TAC said it is worried that many of the leaky condoms are still in circulation in Bloemfontein, the Free State city where ANC celebrations were held in early January.

More from GlobalPost: South Africa: Controversy over political poster showing interracial couple

TAC's Sello Mokhalipi told the BBC that it tested some of the condoms handed out for the centenary celebrations, and found them to be porous.

"When you poured water in them, the water seeped through," Mokhalipi said.

South Africa has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any other country. An estimated 5.7 million South Africans are infected with the disease.

More from GlobalPost: South Africa's population would be 4.4 million larger without AIDS