Four Nando’s outlets in Cape Town are no longer certified halal by the National Independent Halal Trust (NIHT). According to NIHT, halal certification for these branches was withdrawn after the companies changed ownership. The branches are Kloof Street in Gardens; Tygervalley Centre in Tygervalley; Liberty Promenade Centre in Mitchell’s Plain and Rondebosch Village in Rondebosch. NIHT’s policy states that it only certifies food outlets that are owned by Muslims.
“As per our contractual obligations, as soon as any stores change ownership, we then withdraw certification until we receive an application from the new owner,” said NIHT head of public relations Murad Booley. He said NIHT’s policy means there will be better control measures as the certifier can be sure that halal products are genuinely being sold to the Muslim consumer. Having Muslim ownership would alleviate any disruptions to the halal supply chain.
The other aspect relates to entrepreneurial empowerment, a policy introduced years ago to encourage Muslim ownership of business. “When the store is owned by Muslims, any profits generated can be ploughed back into our religious and community organisations through sponsorship and donations. If we allowed a non-Muslim a halal certificate, at the end of the month, the Muslim community would not derive much benefit from it,” Booley explained.
The manager at the busy Liberty Promenade Mall branch confirmed that the store was no longer a franchised branch. However, the chicken is still halal as it is supplied by Rainbow Chicken, which has plants certified by both the Muslim Judicial Council Halal Trust (MJCHT) and the South African National Halal Authority (Sanha). Furthermore, all products supplied to Nando’s restaurants in South Africa are approved by NIHT.
“The NIHT conducts regular inspections of the premises of the various suppliers of Nando’s products. While all products supplied are halal, not all Nando’s restaurants are certified halal,” stated Ashley Stansfield, PR manager for Nando’s South Africa. The uncertified eateries are those which sell liquor. For this reason, NIHT was particularly strict about Muslim management or ownership at the restaurants it certified. “Also, when stores are not owned by Muslims and they run short of stock, they could purchase their chicken from a non-halal source. If there are not the necessary controls in place, this could obviously lead to problems as we have experienced in the past.”
Currently, 20 Nando’s branches are certified by the MJCHT in the Western Cape. MJCHT senior halal consultant Sheik Moosa Titus said they were now attending to the halal certification of the four newly acquired stores, after the owner subsequently applied to the halal body to have it re-certified. NIHT still certifies Nando’s outlets at Cape Gate Mall, Vangate Mall and Belgravia. VOC (Tasneem Adams)