Interview with EBI Lockhat of SANHA
In our interview with EBI we discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the Halaal industry and how SANHA is addressing this internally to best serve their members.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and SANHA?
The South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA) is the country’s leading Halaal certifying authority. Established in 1996, it promotes professionalism and excellence in the certification of Halaal food and other related products in accordance with Islamic law, while protecting and promoting the rights of Muslim consumers. It is endorsed by the broader religious Scholars and operates as a self-sustaining non-profit entity. Its activities are as follows;
- Local and International Halaal certification including the granting of export certificates.
- Responsibility of a certified company’s Halaal status.
- Ongoing auditing, monitoring, supervision and inspections.
- Logistical support given to company R&D for ingredient assessment.
- Dedicated Consumer National Help Line – 0861 786 111.
- Hosting of and participating at conferences, seminars, special events and public educational programmes.
- Publications on Halaal.
- Monitoring and acting on fraudulent acts and abuse of Halaal marks.
Its membership comprises of theological, professional and community organisations. SANHA co-operates with industry representative organisations in the furtherance of its mission. It is a member of:-
- South African Association of the Flavour and Flagrance Industry (SAAFFI
- Restaurant Association of SA (RASA)
- Durban Chamber of Commerce
- Minara Chamber of Commerce
- Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce
- Cape Chamber of Commerce
- Proudly South Africa
- Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA)
- South African Association for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST)
- South African Bakers Association
SANHA subscribes to the highest possible standards. It has collaborative links with Halaal Certifying Bodies in different parts of the world. It has signed Memorandum of Understanding with 32 countries of the South African Developing Countries, European Union, South East Asia, India, Pakistan, USA, South America, Indian Ocean and Oceania. It enjoys recognition and support by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and has participated in several trade missions abroad.
About myself, there is very little to tell. Born and educated in the rural area of coastal KwaZulu Natal. Participated in numerous management and development programs. Amongst my few modest achievements have been serving as:-
- Retail consultant in strategy and promotion
- Service to several Islamic organisations
- Public Relations Officer of SANHA
- Consultant, Strategist, Editor.
2. How has COVID-19 shifted the food and beverage paradigm within the Halaal community?
Adherence to dietary laws are an inherent and inseparable part of the Islamic faith. The laws are Divine and based on Revelations of the Noble Quraan and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). As such there has been no shift nor can they be on the principle of consumption of Halaal foods. The shift if any has been on how to ensure continuity of supply during the lockdown.
3. What steps is SANHA implementing from a compliance perspective? Are you advising your members of new best practices? And if so, what are these best practices?
Steps that SANHA will be implementing will be focussed on health and safety of Halaal. Many of the steps learnt during the lockdown such as use of PPE by auditors and digital reporting will be adapted and adopted for use post the lockdown.
4. What trends have you noticed ramping up over the pandemic that will impact development?
The definitive trends ramping up during the lockdown are as follows:-
i. Online purchasing and home delivery
Compelled out of necessity people have turned to ordering products online rather than the customary visit to the local meat suppliers. The ease and joy of receiving supplies during this period in the comfort of their homes is a trend that will continue to grow post the lockdown. We have had to publish a list of suppliers willing to deliver during this period. Click here to view http://www.sanha.org.za/flashnews/2020/flashn148.pdf.
ii. Home Cooking
With the challenge of feeding families during the lockdown many have turned to preparing home cooked meals. Testimony of this is the huge demand on yeast for baking which led to a shortage at retail level.. The manufacturer of yeast had to make a public announcement on the shortage and stepped up production to meet the sharp rise in demand.
iii. Restaurant Delivery vs Dining
With restaurants unable to trade during the lockdown, we are unaware of the anticipated trends in this sector. However, from informal discussions with operators it seems that the dining sector of restaurants will be impacted negatively leading to downsizing of the size of premises. However the home deliveries and pick-ups will increase dramatically.
iv. Healthy Foods
With people at home during the lockdown and time on their hands, much interest has surfaced on the health aspects of diets and nutrition. This has been an emerging trends internationally where the Halaal consumer is also seeking healthy options and knowledge of ingredients utilised. A Halaal diet is equated and associated with good health.
5. What strategies and new ideas are emerging to balance convenience and affordability for your members customers?
Encouraging staff to work from home. Use of digital technology for virtual audits and electronic reporting. This will not replace physical audits but will supplement them.
Thank you Ebi for taking your time to chat to us. We look forward to speaking to you again in the coming weeks regarding our plans for Africa’s Big 7 2021.