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KZN premier asks retailers to reconsider aQuellé ban

PREMIER Sihle Zikalala has asked South Africa’s major food retailers to reconsider their decision to remove aQuellé, owned by KwaSizabantu Mission, from their shelves after it was alleged that there was rampant abuse at the mission in Kranskop.

Zikalala expressed these concerns yesterday at a media briefing aimed at giving the country an update on provincial efforts to fight Covid-19

“We strongly believe that the ban on products from KwaSizabantu by some of the retailers is unfair and misinformed. It is wrong for retailers to ban such products while the investigation is ongoing.

“More importantly, most of the alleged human rights abuses seem to have happened some time ago. The worst to come is the devastating effect of loss of jobs and the perpetuation of poverty in the area. As the provincial government, we will seek to engage with all retailers that have banned KwaSizabantu products.”

He said they would ask the retailers to withdraw the ban and allow investigations to occur. “If the allegations were true against some members of the mission, then those responsible will have to be dealt with accordingly.”

Last week, the Daily News reported that the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities Investigation Committee was in Durban investigating charges of cultism at the mission, founded in 1970 by German evangelist Erlo Hartwig Stegen. Other charges being investigated by the police included money laundering and physical and sexual abuse dating back to the 1980s.

Source: IOL