The Western Cape Sport School in Kuils River has received much media attention recently, but not for its sporting accolades.
Muslim parents of learners at the school were outraged after it was discovered that the school’s catering company, Star Catering Services, which provides meals for the entire school, was not halaal certified. The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has since stepped in to investigate the matter and to assist with the halaal certification.
The MJC’s halaal trust director, Sheikh Achmat Sedick explained that senior members of the MJC, including himself, visited the school recently to liaise with the principal as well as the School Governing Body (SGB). They will be working on expediting the process of having the current caterer fully halaal certified.
The MJC had visited Star Caterers’ kitchen area, which is situated on the school’s premises, for a thorough inspection and to speak to the individual responsible for operations. They inquired where the catering company sources its ingredients and meat products and looked into the overall cooking processes.
“In the meantime we were communicating with Star Caterers with regards to documentation, so we are [now] in the process of actually certifying Star Catering halaal [to see if] whatever they are doing is compliant with halaal standards,” explained Sheikh Sedick.
Sheikh Sedick added that he was quite pleased with the conditions of the kitchen and its overall functioning. The previous catering company at the school was certified halaal and not much had changed with regards to processes once the new catering company had taken over.
“An initial audit still needs to be carried out at the catering company’s home premises in Khayelitsha to see how things are run over there,” added Sheikh Sedick.
Sheikh Sedick strongly asserted that no non-halaal food products entered the kitchen premises. He added, if this were to be the case, an ‘Islamic cleansing’ would have to be performed.
“That would mean we would have to clean up the kitchen, if there’s any indication or if we found that non-halaal products came into the kitchen…”
In the meantime, while the MJC addresses this, the principal of the Western Cape Sport School, Shahied Khan said that after the matter emerged the school, as well as members of the public, came forward to assist Muslim learners with meals.
“At the time when the matter erupted, it was agreed that the school would make an alternative arrangement for the Muslim learners while the certification matter is being attended to,” said Khan.
“There’s a lot of people with a lot of goodwill who have tried to assist in the matter, who have tried to resolve this so that we don’t have any further issues around this. Everybody wants to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all parties.”
“We’ve arranged for our tuck shop, which is run by Sedick Slamang, to provide them [the Muslim learners] with meals. Then we also have one of our parents who, once a week, provides supper for the learners.”
“In terms of the halaal certification, there has been positive movement thanks to the assistance of the MJC – so that matter is reaching a conclusion soon.”
The MJC, the school as well as the SGB said that the matter is being treated with the necessary urgency it demands and will be resolved in the next few weeks.