March 2022 : Rajab 1443

Our announcement of 28/02/2022 on the termination of certification to our subscribers generated enormous publicity – click to view

In fulfilment of its responsibility and as per its policy of keeping its constituency informed, SANHA issues notices of new certifications and terminations as they happen. Accordingly, our notice focussed purely on the announcement of Frimax’s termination with no other issue raised. It was not even inferred that Frimax products are no longer Halaal. However, Frimax Management deemed it necessary to widely publicise a statement giving ‘their version’ of the events leading to the termination.

Whilst we accept the audi alterem partem principle of ‘hearing the other side’, we cannot stand by and not respond to their statement, which is replete with inaccuracies, misrepresentation, economical with the truth and very confrontational in approach. It also introduced new issues, never previously raised with us. The spin doctoring sought to foment dissent against us and sow discord.

Follow the facts of the matter:

    During a site audit in May 2019, our auditor found products and packaging carrying a generic Halaal mark, some with a certification mark of another body and its Halaal certificate. This was a breach in terms of the agreement contract signed by both parties, which clearly states that the introduction of any new products, packaging and/or obtaining certification of another Halaal Body requires prior written notification and approval.

    On following up on this non-compliance, we were informed that Frimax had taken an arbitrary decision to terminate certification as a retaliatory measure following a dispute on a personal matter between a senior SANHA member, who has since passed on, and the CEO of Frimax Foods. The dispute was not related in any way to our contractual agreement and service performance.

    The biggest stumbling block to our withdrawal was Frimax’s request to be allowed to run out their packaging with our logo. Ordinarily our logo would have to be effaced or the packaging would have to be destroyed. Contrary to SANHA policy, we acceded to their request to defer the termination to August 2020, and thereafter at their further behest an extension was granted to September 2021. At that point, we were then categorically informed that the packaging in stock carrying the SANHA logo would only run out in 2024.

    We deemed this procrastination and ‘shifting of the goal posts’ as unacceptable and accordingly notified Frimax in December 2021 and reminded them in January 2022 that termination of their certification will become effective on the 1st March 2022. Accordingly, our termination notice was issued.

  2. FEES
    Frimax has sadly conjured up a new fallacious issue on our charges by stating that they, “have always felt that the way their charges are structured are inflated.” Yet not once in all the years (since 2001) did they raise this as a concern nor did they request a discussion on the fee, which at the time of termination was pegged at R12,311.16 per annum which equates to R1025,93 per month.

    As for their payment made until September 2022, this was seemingly a tactic to coerce us to continue certification on a never never basis as outlined earlier. Though they were informed in writing that the difference from March to September 2022 would be refunded and a credit note was accordingly passed. They have however refused to provide their banking details despite several reminders from our offices.

    Their assertion that dual certification is not allowed is a blatant untruth, as is their allegation of double standards, complete with the theatrics of “much research.” What is not acceptable is the arbitrary introduction of this without following due process and as a punitive and spiteful response to a private dispute outside the ambit of our operations.

    Even the rationale cited for retaining dual certification is a contradiction in terms, whereby it is stated on one hand that Frimax “have lost both the relationship and the trust that SANHA can function as a halaal governing body” whilst on the other hand, they wish to coerce us to allow the use of our Halaal mark till 2024. It is apparent that they have acted in bad faith.

    SANHA’s criteria for Halaal certification is not based on colour, creed, ethnicity, religion, gender, community standing, philanthropy, political affiliations and the like, but on compliance to the requisite religious standards and adherence to contractual agreements entered into. At no stage in our announcement or anywhere else do we say anything to the contrary. It has no relevance to the matter at hand and introducing it is unjust and seeks to polarise the community.

    Just as we have several hundred companies who join our Halaal Certification program each year, there are some organisations who opt to decertify too. Decertification and/or termination of contract occurs for various reasons. Businesses liquidating, ownership changes, breach of contract, voluntary termination by either party etc. What is paramount though is honesty in the decision-making and sincerity of purpose.

The Noble Quran states, "O you who believe! Be conscious of Allah and be among the truthful…” (Chapter 9, Verse 119). The Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) life was one of justice, meticulous honesty and scrupulous dealings on both a personal and business level to the extent that even his enemies would trust him. Hence, he was known as, "The Trustworthy One" and "The Truthful One".

He also stated in a Hadeeth, "One who deceives is not of us." (Muslim)

Even when the chips are down, let us strive to live up to the lofty ideals of our Beloved Benefactor and Teacher, our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Your Duas, constructive comments, criticism and feedback is truly appreciated
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