Durban – After learning with shock that the eThekwini Municipality intends to impose a slaughtering permit for traditional ceremonies, the African National Congress Youth League eThekwini Region says it will write to the ANC caucus in eThekwini Municipality.
In a Facebook post that has since been deleted from its page, the eThekwini Municipality describes how to submit a request for a permit for a ritual slaughter.
It says that this application procedure does not apply only to residents in the suburbs, as it is applicable to all areas that fall under the jurisdiction of eThekwini Municipality.
The post outlines the procedures that citizens have to follow to submit an application for a permit to slaughter, including contacting their local Environmental Health Services office for an application form that also lists the requirements that must be met.
“Permission must be obtained from the relevant Environmental Health Services Office prior to the animal being brought into the area. Each application is assessed on its own merit, and special conditions may need to be imposed.
“The time frame for receiving the application is seven working days prior to the event. All information requested on the form must be provided, as any incomplete forms cannot be considered. The Environmental Health Practitioner will visit the premises at which the animal is to be slaughtered to advise on health requirements,” the city’s post read.
It says the permit provides conditions of hygienic practices that need to be followed when slaughtering animals and that this is not only to safeguard the health of those who eat the meat, but also in the interests of harmony in communities.
Thulisa Ndlela, regional secretary of the ANC Youth League in eThekwini, has stated that they vehemently oppose this culturally insensitive action because it will force “our people to seek permission to practice their constitutionally protected right to culture".
“We will engage the leadership of the ANC in the region to instruct the caucus of the ANC in council for this decision not to be approved and, if approved, to be reviewed with the intention of reversing.
“The African people cannot be made to seek permission in the same way that they used to under the apartheid regime,” Ndlela said.
The ANC Youth League says when regulations and by-laws are made, it is important to consider cultural insensitivities and the protection of the dignity of all the citizens in general but Africans in particular.
Ndlela has said that to require a permit is an invasion of the sensitive cultural ceremonies that are often performed in African culture.
“The city belongs to all who live in it and it is important for everyone’s cultural right to be respected,” Ndlela said.
The by-law is already in place, according to Msawakhe Mayisela, a spokesperson for the eThekwini Municipality, and the city has no plans to restrict residents.
“We would like to clarify that this is an old by-law that has been in existence in the city. We do not plan to restrict our residents' cultural practices,”he said.
Mayisela would not respond to why the post was removed from the city’s Facebook page.
According to the by-law a written permission is required to slaughter animals in terms of Part XI of the Red Meat Regulations, 2004 (No. 1072 of 2004), framed under the Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act 40 of 2000).
This includes the Public Health and Nuisances By-law.
“Contravention of Red Meat Regulations, 2004 (No. 1072 of 2004), framed under the Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act 40 of 2000) as well as the Public Health and Nuisance Bylaw constitutes this as an offence and legal and legal action may be instituted against the offender,” the post read.
Ndlela says although the permit is already in place, they are satisfied with how it has been used because they have not given it much thought. However, they say the city is now stepping up enforcement across the board because they will now need to police it everywhere.