A one hour meeting of major butchers took much longer than planned as butchers dived for cover to answer questions whether they bought meat or chicken from Orion Cold Storage, imported frozen meat and chicken and whether they also have a responsibilty to ensure halaal compliance. Key players failed to confirm attendance while earlier agreeing to attend. They were suddenly unavailable.

Just like halaal certifying bodies fail to work together so will the captains of the Muslim meat and chicken industry to resolve the crisis arising out of the Orion Pork scandal says Cllr Ganief Hendricks Party leader of AL JAMA-AH. Protecting their turf and their business interests counts more than the holy institution of Thabah and shariah slaughtering laws.

Leading Muslim butchers feel that their responsiblity ends when they pay their registration fees with one or more halaal certifying authorities and then for other services rendered. Damage to the repution of any halaal certifying authority does not concern them.

While the meeting set down in a City of Cape Town Boardroom in Paul Sauer Building could not take place as planned over a period of six weeks by City secretarial staff Cllr Hendricks moved to get the information he wanted. Butchers made themselves available for telephonic interviews on the day and he had to cut short some of the interviews to accommodate other butchers. When a butcher heard the collective meeting of butchers was no longer on the cards they met the Councillor on a one on one basis. Busy Corner Meat Wholesalers owners on hearing their rivals were not attending at the last minute asked for an hour postponement and then for a time next week. They eventually agreed to a meeting at their premises in the farmlands of Lansdowne later the afternoon which took place and invited a major chicken wholesaler Farm Fresh to the meeting. Farm Fresh complained that a dozen other interest groups were doing the same thing and were indifferent to concerns raised as were others at the meeting. They felt the halaal certifying authority must alone take responsibilty but will stand with them. They however did not mind taking them on overseas visits to increase the number of suppliers of cheap halaal certified meat.

None of the butchers felt their brand was damaged by the scandals. Their turnover was also not affected indicating while there was an uproar Muslims continued to buy from them and did not even bother to question them on their halaal status. Busy Corner continued to move nearly 200 tons of meat and poor Muslims continued to buy imported cheap meat and chicken.

The Councillor extended a further invite to diving and ducking butchers like Shoukets, Dawoods Butchery and their suppliers and Excellent Meat Market and others to meet with him so that the Party’s voters and the Muslim public can know whether they ever bought meat and chicken from Orion Cold Storage and sold it to the hundreds of butchers Muslims buy from and whether they sold imported meat and chicken and whether they are prepared to take full responsibilty for halaal compliance.

Some of the responses of the Dhansay owners of Busy Corner gave some hope for the future. Cllr Ganief Hendricks handed the butchers with a copy of the Party’s halaal standards and asked them to heed Mufti A.K. Hoosains fatwa that imported meat and chicken should be banned.