- A circular from Helen Joseph Hospital indicated that Halaal food services for patients would be discontinued, to the dismay of the Muslim community.
- The Gauteng health department blamed poor management at the hospital.
- The department said the circular had been withdrawn and apologised to the Muslim community, assuring them that Halaal food catering would continue.
The Gauteng Department of Health on Wednesday moved to assure Muslim patients at Johannesburg's Helen Joseph Hospital that they would continue receiving Halaal food, after complaints emerged that the hospital would discontinue serving it.
Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said an alarm had been raised within the Muslim community after a circular issued from the hospital indicated that Halaal food services would no longer be available as of 15 December.
"We can assure the Muslim community that the acting head of department earlier today [16 December] instructed the Helen Joseph Hospital to immediately and unreservedly withdraw the said memo. The move to stop providing Halaal food services was as a result of poor planning from the side of the facility and simply unacceptable," said Kekana.
The circular, seen by Democratic Alliance health spokesperson Jack Bloom, read: "Due to unforeseen circumstances we would not be able to cater for any Halaal certified meals."
Bloom said the Muslim community was dismayed at the news, and that family members were prohibited from bringing Halaal food to patients.
Kekana blamed poor management at the hospital.
"The department extends a heartfelt apology for the inconvenience caused as a result of the poor management of the issue by the hospital."
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