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As South Africa deals with the aftermath of the recent civil unrest and violent looting, Cipla’s manufacturing facility in Durban – which was unfortunately impacted during this turmoil – is ready to re-open its doors and resume operations.

Some media reports erroneously stated that the facility had burnt down, when it was in fact vandalized on 13 July 2021. Thankfully, none of the more than 500 Cipla staff working at this plant were injured during this incident.

After the looting incident, Cipla implemented adequate contingency measures such as leveraging our global supply chain and other manufacturing sites, to ensure continuity of medicine supply, especially for key therapeutic areas such as anti-retrovirals for people living with HIV. From a stock perspective, Cipla also had a good amount of buffer stock in our other distribution centres across the country, which helped to mitigate all possible supply disruptions.

CEO of Cipla South Africa, Paul Miller, said: “Cipla staff have displayed an indomitable spirit and worked tirelessly to ensure that we can resume operations as quickly as possible at this facility. We were also blessed with support from various other roleplayers in the local community who helped in the aftermath of this incident.

“Regardless of the circumstances, we are committed to delivering on our ethos of “caring for life”, and the quick turnaround time to get this site operational again is evidence of that,” said Miller. Cipla employed 5 contractors to fast-track the intensive clean-up operation and reparation process at this Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified facility.

Localised industry is one of the most effective stimulators of economic growth and job creation, and therefore, as a proudly South African pharmaceutical manufacturing company, Cipla’s focuses on an “Africa for Africa” strategy. Cipla’s footprint expands across the African continent: in addition to the facility in Durban, Cipla also has a factory in Johannesburg, and another manufacturing plant in Uganda. It aims to empower various regions with their own manufacturing capabilities and invests in upgrading technological capabilities at these plants to improve production capacity, drive digital innovation and ensure uninterrupted access for patients to quality, affordable medication.

By actively creating employment and skills development opportunities, the result is more than just economic growth; it’s providing better health for our patients and securing socio-economic wellbeing for our communities.

The manufacturing industry in particular, stimulates more economic activity across society than any other sector. This globally recognised multiplier effect creates employment opportunities, demand for resources, investment, and development opportunities. This invaluable stimulus impact on economic growth is attributed to the many significant links between manufacturing and most other sectors in the economy[1].” Therefore, in addition to ensuring continuity of medicine supply, it was also critical for Cipla to resume operations as speedily as possible at the affected manufacturing facility.

  1. Gold, S., 2014. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 14 July 2021].