By Al Qalam Reporter
The South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA) held its Annual General Meeting in Cape Town last week and said the body is growing stronger and evolving with the times, but it is also facing many detractors who are denigrating the halaal concept on social media, said the chief operating officer, Naseem Kathrada.
“Juxtaposed against this solid foundation, however, is constantly evolving, and sometimes even volatile social, political and economic environment in which SANHA operates.
“As important as it is to acknowledge the legacy of SANHA, it is equally imperative to embrace the inevitability of evolutionary change that is needed to survive in an evolving environment.
“The impact of social media has also been a game changer. The public is exposed to vast quantities of information (and sometimes misinformation). This creates pressure on organisations to strategically assess both the tone and speed at which they respond to public comment. The social media platforms for public discourse are particularly challenging because of the lack of control over the media.
At the AGM held at the Taronga Road Masjid Hall, in Crawford, Kathrada said SANHA employs 123 full time staff and 21 outsourced auditors. “Together with the Executive and Trustees, (they) are fully occupied with the critical functions required to ensure that the Public has the assurance that all establishments certified by SANHA are fully compliant with the requirements of Halaal.”
SANHA said that with rapid globalization, wide scale industrial production techniques are utilized to feed the world. Food produced in many countries travel long distances to reach our homes. Thousands of substances are deliberately added to food to increase their desirability to withstand processing, packaging, storing and transporting of the products.
Statistics for 2018 show that it had halaal-certified a total of 14 915 certified flavours. It had 33 640 ingredients evaluated, 5. 757 export certificates issued – up from 486 in 2017. Furthermore, it had handled 25 423 queries from the public.
SANHA said it carried out 17 545 audits, an increase of 13% on 2017. SANHA said it had 54 520 social media subscribers on its social media platforms.
He expressed gratitude to the consumers who continue to support and rely on SANHA to provide an accurate evaluation of the Halaal status of the products and establishments that it audits. “It is a duty we take very seriously,” he added.
SANHA continues to offer free advice and training in the field of Halaal, including countries outside of South Africa, including halaal authorities in Seychelles, Sierra Leon and Nigeria.
SANHA Treasurer O.M. Moola said in his report: “I would like to present the Treasurers Report and the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 28 February 2019.
“2019 was another successful year for SANHA, delivering outstanding value and service. Annual turnover, representing largely certification income, was R27, 864,237, an increase of 8.15% from 2018. Operating Expenses totaled R25, 465,513 resulting in a net surplus of R2, 391,021.
Employee costs (including consultancy) increased by 8% confirming SANHA’s commitment of remunerating staff in line with industry norms, in spite of the harsh economic conditions. Employee costs totaled R17, 005,291 which accounted 66% of total expenditure.