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Following the continued complaints from South African citizens at a Kempton Park quarantine facility regarding the lack of Halaal meals and the quality of the food available – the Democratic Alliance (DA) immediately intervened to resolve this issue.
A group of 101 South Africans, primarily of the Muslim faith, returning from Pakistan reported that meals at the quarantine site were not according to the relevant needs of either being Halaal or vegetarian and most of the time these meals were unpalatable, especially for children.
Many of the citizens returning from Pakistan are currently fasting as it is the Holy Month of Ramadan. Yet, some had no choice but to remain hungry whilst others had gotten ill due to the shocking state of the food served.
It had come to the DA’s attention that the Department of Health (DoH) had appointed the wrong service provider, that was not able to provide the appropriate meals required by this particular group of South Africans currently in quarantine.
The DA immediately approached the management of the quarantine facility, which has been set up at a local hotel, and lodged several complaints with the DoH to request specialised kids meals and Halaal food, especially for those who need to sustain themselves during their fasting.
Due to the DA’s pressure, the matter has now been resolved and those currently residing at the facility has access to kids meals and adequate Halaal meals.
The situation at this particular quarantine site has demonstrated a lack of sensitivity on the part of the DoH towards the cultural and religious practices of those who are returning home.
We have engaged the Department in this regard and requested that special care is given to the cultural and religious practices of new groups going into mandatory quarantine.
The DA will continue to keep a close eye on all the relevant quarantine sites, to ensure that every South African at these sites are treated with dignity.