The Orion Cold Storage Saga: Debating ‘Halaal’ in South Africa

Main Article Content

Auwais Rafudeen

Abstract

In November 2011, Cape Town meat importers Orion Cold Storage was
accused, principally by the South African National Halaal Authority
(SANHA) - a major halaal certifying body in the country- of deliberately
mislabelling certain non-halaal meat products and then selling these off as
halaal to its customers. Some of these products included pork which was then
relabelled as sheep or veal. Since Orion had a large Muslim customer base,
and because some of its products had been certified halaal by the another
major halaal certifying body, namely the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC),
there was a considerable public outcry amongst Muslims, which was
exacerbated by national television coverage of the issue and social media.
The issue rapidly extended beyond the initial court case against Orion and
became a public debate about halaal procedures and standards in general and
the legitimacy of the MJC as a halaal certifying body.
This article analyses reasons for why the saga unfolded in the way it
did. Utilising an analytical framework developed by Shaheed Tayob in a
seminal work on the halaal in South Africa, it argues that the positioning and
public engagement of protagonists during the saga was importantly shaped
by market considerations in a competitive halaal industry. But the article also
argues an analysis of the relevant players’ actions primarily in terms of such
considerations does not take into account the theological dimension to this
saga and so it seeks to illuminate this dimension by relating halaal to legal
and methodological discourses within Islamic tradition.

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How to Cite
Rafudeen, A. (2013). The Orion Cold Storage Saga: Debating ‘Halaal’ in South Africa. Alternation Journal, (11), 134-162. Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/soa/article/view/406
Section
Articles
Author Biography

Auwais Rafudeen, University of South Africa

Academic/ Researcher Department of Religious Studies & Arabic Rafudma@unisa.ac.za

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