South Africa, Johannesburg – The Gauteng Health Department says sorry for a Helen Joseph hospital memo stated that Halaal food services would no longer be available as of 15 December at the facility.
An alarm was raised within the Muslim community after the circular made the rounds but the department said the move to stop providing Halaal food services was a result of poor planning from the side of the facility.
That was “simply unacceptable”, the department said.
Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health Jack Bloom said Muslims were understandably dismayed by the circular that due to unforeseen circumstances, the hospital would not be able to cater for any Halaal certified meals.
“This is most unfortunate as observant Muslim patients will not eat non-Halaal food, and this will adversely affect both their physical and mental health.
“The situation is worsened by the restriction on visitors due to Covid-19, so family members are prevented from bringing in Halaal food.
“I have alerted Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi to this matter and I hope she takes urgent action to ensure that Halaal food is available at the hospital,” Jack said.
However, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Health Kwara Kenana said she would like to assure the Muslim community that the Acting Head of Department earlier instructed Helen Joseph Hospital to immediately and unreservedly withdraw the said memo.
“The Gauteng Department of Health extends a heartfelt apology for the inconvenience caused as a result of the poor management of the issue by the hospital.
“The matter has since been resolved, and we wish to allay the fears of Muslim patients and their loved ones that the service will not be interrupted,” Kekana said.