ACDP provincial leader Ferlon Christians has urged the Western Cape health department to evaluate the halaal certification prerequisite for all public tenders in state hospitals.
Christians is concerned that the current tender process is discriminatory towards any other business wanting to apply for the tender, specifically at Groote Schuur hospital.
We received complaints from businesses saying...they felt they were excluded because the requirements were that firstly the premises must be halaal, and also that they must produce halaal certificate.— Ferlon Christians, ACDP
Christians wrote to the Western Cape Health MEC, stating that businesses felt this was excluding them from tenders as they do not meet the halaal practices and requirements.
Marika Champion, Communications Director Western Cape Health joined Kieno Kammies on the line to respond to these allegations.
The Western Cape operated within the specifications of the national Food Policy. From that we have a provincial policy, and the bid specifications are then done.— Marika Champion, Communications Director Western Cape Health
Champion says that the national policy requires them to take into consideration various ethnic and religious groups.
Where viable, it actually stipulates that separate kitchens need to be run on the premises. But making food and serving food to patients is understandably not our core business.— Marika Champion, Communications Director Western Cape Health
To be pragmatic, and satisfy all groups, we've decided to make specifications that the supplier must be halaal certified...This is not new. It has been in practice since 2005.— Marika Champion, Communications Director Western Cape Health
Champion acknowledges that she has seen no record of the official complaint Mr Christians says he has lodged, but says she will follow this up.
She insists the department's intention is not to be exclusionary.
The intention of the department is definitively not to discriminate. We have an obligation obviously to all our patients to do as well as possible within the limits of what is cost effective.— Marika Champion, Communications Director Western Cape Health
The entire kitchen at Groote Schuur Hospital is a halaal facility and is certified halaal.— Marika Champion, Communications Director Western Cape Health
The Muslim Judicial Council Halal Trust (MJCHT) director Achmat Sedick joined the discussion saying they were asked a few years ago to provide a policy standard that would meet the halaal requirements in hospitals.
Groote Schuur is maybe the unique one where there is only halaal, but it was to accommodate the halaal and non-halaal.— Achmat Sedick, director The Muslim Judicial Council Halal Trust (MJCHT)
Wherever there is halaal, the halaal compliance needs to be there. If a non-Muslim brings non-halaal food into a halaal kitchen, that would not be acceptable.— Achmat Sedick, director The Muslim Judicial Council Halal Trust (MJCHT)
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