By Azhar Vadi 18-01-2012

Social Networks are a flurry this morning with comments regarding the 3rd Degree exposeon the Orion Halaal/Haram issue.

Investigative journalist, Deborah Patta, delved into the issue concerning the Orion Meat Storage Company and the alleged relabeling of pork, kangaroo and other meats as Halaal.

Her tough style of questioning placed the director of the company, Patrick Gaertner, in a compromising position by insinuating that he was well aware of what was happening on his premises.

Gaertner has blamed two of his senior staff members for creating the videos showing the alleged relabeling of the meats by workers of Orion as a means of blackmailing him.

Gaertner was not available this morning for comment at the time of publication.

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) was also slammed on the social networks for their role in the saga and the way they handled the 3rd Degree interview.

The MJC previously certified Orion poultry and according to the programme last night, meat as well. Their officials were not available for comment today either.

The organisation however did previously try to explain to Cii their roll in the mess this has become.

The organisation’s deputy president, Sheikh Achmet Sedick told Cii;

“We have what we call a consignment basis (agreement).”

Orion does not engage in slaughtering of live animals but is a pure cold storage facility. “The facility (in Cape Town) is not a Halaal facility in other words,” said Sheikh Sedick.

“MJC would certify the consignments that would come in. They would request from us that when the consignment comes in, that we need to clear it.”

Halaal certification is then given to that particular consignment that the MJC has cleared. Last year the MJC certified and cleared 18 containers for Orion.

They also confirmed that the chicken was slaughtered abroad. This meat was imported from Denmark and Brazil, according to Sheikh Sedick.

“There’s nothing else they can put in because we go through the entire container.”

The meat is certified Halaal by authorities in the countries of origin. Sheikh Sedick explained the process.

“For instance in Brazil, we would go to Brazil. We then, as MJC, not specific to that consignment, during the year have a relationship with the exporter. We would verify the facility of that particular exporter because this exporter actually has a slaughtering facility. So we go and search out and certify the facility.”

The MJC then certifies the facility which exports its products. When the consignment arrives in South Africa it is sealed and opened only in the presence of MJC officials who check the documentation against the stock carried.

The MJC has therefore refused to take responsibility for any other meat that Orion may have imported from other sources.

Since the airing of the programme a number of people have called for the MJC to disband.

Khadija Essa wrote on the Cii Facebook fanpage; “Sad very sad….a big disappointment….Orion u can understand they don’t have Imaan..but the MJC…really they let us down….truly.”

Imraahn Mukhaddam of the national Consumer Forum posting in the Muslim Consumer Council Facebook page said that either change must take place through the process of mashwera or a revolutionary overthrow is necessary.

“We can’t wish away the MJC … and all the other elitist clergy class. We have to transform them either peacefully through the process of SHURA or through the revolutionary way like our brothers in the Muslim lands are showing us to do,” he wrote.

He said once the Muslim Consumer Council had properly constituted itself it will be taking various Muslim organisations to court.

A number of Facebook posts have also voiced supported for Moulana A.S. Desai of The Majlis in Port Elizabeth.

Through his sometimes scathing newsletter, he has repeatedly warned Muslims in South Africa about the dangers associated with the certification of food as Halaal.

Ra’eesa Rayli Lorgat wrote on the Cii Facebook fanpage, “Viva majlis ! They exposed Sanha and MJC long ago. Imagine non-Muslims had to show us what our own Muslim brothers are doing to us ?? #mindblown.”

In this case however the South African National Halaal Authority has been at the forefront of exposing the Orion scandal.