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Response to Consumer Forum Print
2013-03-27

Dear Mr Ismail-Mukaddam

Assalaamu Alaikum

We refer to your newsletter ?Consumerfair? entitled ?Call for disbandment of all Halaal Certifying Authorities? which you chain e-mailed to undisclosed recipients.

Whereas sincere consumer activists world over are driven by a great sense of justice to uphold and protect the rights of the people against abuse, your outpouring is a antithesis of these values and nails your colours to the mast when it comes to our rights.

Whilst we cannot speak for other certifying bodies, we view the contents of this publication in respect to ourselves as slanderous, libelous, ridiculed with inaccuracies and malicious. We were neither contacted to verify the information nor given the opportunity to put our views across. Therefore we respond to the points made in your sweeping generalization and it remains to be seen whether you will have the courage of your conviction and elaborate on the points raised.

1.    ?they continue to fail their constituency?

We have not received such complaints from our constituent members nor have any given you a mandate to speak on their behalf. Which constituency are you speaking for?

2.    ?non (sic) of the certifiers have the necessary competence to ensure that Muslims eat food according to their specific dietary requirements?

Please provide the requisite standard that you have based your judgment on so that we can respond specifically.

3.    You state ?in the wake of the ORION Cold Storage Scandal and after the report from the Independent Halaal Review Panel we would have expected these institutions to have upped their game?


What could your motive be for conveniently omitting the very significant and major fact that SANHA was an applicant in the matter against Orion in 2011, and that you failed to take up our invitation to join the action. As for the Independent Halaal Review Panel you fail to state that they were established by the MJC themselves to minimize the damage to their reputation for their involvement in certifying Orion. You display further selective amnesia by not mentioning that you are on record as having questioned their validity and findings. Another fact is that SANHA attended your public meeting when other certifiers chose to remain out of sight when you were trying to garner support from the public in this matter.

4.    ?the constant barrage of mislabeling and deliberate label fraud continues unabated?

No SANHA certified plants were named in these studies. Kindly elaborate and provide the facts.

We are aware from Press reports though that there were three incidents in your home Province, the Western Cape viz one at Spar certified by ICSA which you personally intervened and another two at Pick ?n Pay outlets certified by the MJC. Hardly the ?barrage that continues unabated? that you refer to.

We are certain that you will not dispute the Quranic injunctions which calls on Believers to produce their proof if they are indeed truthful and accordingly await details.

5.    ?Selling Brand Islam to the highest bidder?

SANHA certifies over 1 400 establishments some of whom have been associated with us from inception seventeen years ago. At the appropriate forum they will testify and debunk your fallacy that we certified them on the basis of your allegation of  ?selling Brand Islam to the highest bidder.? Incidentally you were invited to our public Annual General Meeting held in your home town during September 2012 where our audited financial statements were presented but you failed to show up. We also extended a personal invitation to you on 22 December 2011 to meet our management but to date you have not even acknowledged the letter.

6.    ?The lack of competence by their own admission? and ?the lack of access to the requisite laboratory facilities?  was a serious indictment.

Please produce a single statement where SANHA stated this. The lack of access is another lie perpetrated by the NCF as anyone with the slightest modicum of knowledge knows that easy access is available to anyone that desires it as decisively demonstrated by the number of independent tests done by many of the media at various laboratories.

7.    ?We stand by our previous position that there should be only one Halaal Certifying Authority sanctioned by an Act of Parliament with Halaal Specific Regulations written into the Consumer Protection Act. This body should have the requisite competence including DNA testing and should charge only a minimal administrative fee to cover their hard costs. The remainder of their costs should be funded by the Muslim Community whose specific dietary requirements are being catered for?

We cannot believe that any Muslim will display such a gross betrayal against Islamic jurisprudence by asking that Muslims surrender their right to administer their own dietary laws to a non-Muslim Government who in turn would police the Muslims and recover the cost of this from them as proposed by you. You are in need of a serious reality check here.

Apart from the  principle explained above which is not negotiable and no surrender will take place, we also add that the Government on who you aim to place reliance of this Divine duty rather than the Ulama leadership, has not covered itself in glory with administering enterprises which is very well known and accepted with scandals of maladministration and corruption surfacing on a regular ongoing basis.

Specifically on meats you must be aware that the Red Meat Industry Forum had to come forward three times to a Parliamentary Select Committee with threats of legal action to prove that the Government department was dysfunctional and failed to implement the Meat Safety Act twelve years after it was passed. By what stretch of the imagination do you feel it will miraculously handle our Halaal issue any better? The meat labeling saga itself is an indictment on this failing.

8.    ?We applaud the position taken by the Jamiattul Ulema KZN to no longer be involved in Halaal Certification due to the complex nature of this process?

Your applause is either being disingenuous or you are truly uninformed on the ground as to the events surrounding this unfortunate saga. The cessation of certification was not based on altruism, honesty and their sudden realization five years into the certification process that managing thirty companies was arduous but rather on management upheavals, personality clashes etc.

Is it not cynical that in the JUKZN public announcement had no qualms or reservations in their recommendation to plants certified by them and consumers to align themselves with other certifying bodies, the very same which according to you must be disbanded. Their spokesperson Ml Abdulla Khan is also on record stating on the Voice of Cape that ?organisations that were previously certified by them should apply for halal certification with other bodies. We do not believe a considerable gap will be left in the halal certifying industry, because there are many other bodies whose sole function is halal certification and inspection.?

We believe that fraud and deception in trade are crimes against Islam, illegal and unpatriotic, and efforts to root out and remedy such malpractices must be supported as a just cause. However, if it is premised on half-truths, innuendo and hearsay as is your article, then it must be rejected outright as a malicious tirade.

There is a traditional Chinese proverb that is an appropriate reference in this situation. It reads, ?the official doesn?t let the common man light a lamp but he himself burns down houses.?

Don?t burn down the institution of Halaal but support and strengthen those that light a candle that illuminates and reflects the truth of our Deen.

Wassalaam

 

Yours sincerely

For South African National Halaal Authority

 

EBI Lockhat

Public Relations Officer

 

Tel: +27 (31) 207 5768

Fax: +27 (31) 207 5793

Cell: +27 (0) 83 777 0121

 

 

Letter from National Consumer Forum ? click here
 
 
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