Reputation institute lecturer at Wits Business School, Dr Dominik Heil says the survival of Tiger Brands is at risk following news of a class action lawsuit against the company for failing to protect their consumers against listeriosis.
Human rights lawyer Richard Spoor said over the weekend that he was launching a lawsuit against Tiger Brands, Enterprise’s parent company.
Listeriosis was traced back to Enterprise's factories in Limpopo and Germiston in Gauteng. This follows the deaths of over 183 people due to the outbreak.
Ultimately their survival will depend on whether we start getting information on what is going on in the factories and whether we will get an impression that it was a mistake or are there systemic weaknesses in food safety. If that is the case, then it would be a threat to the survival of the business.— Dr Dominik Heil, Reputation institute lecturer at Wits Business School
Heil says the company may have lost its first battle when it showed lack of compassion and consistency in the way it handled the matter.
It certainly caused severe damage to their reputation.— Dr Dominik Heil, Reputation institute lecturer at Wits Business School
The question is, will by next year the company have done what needs to be done to regain consumers confidence again? We will obviously eat polony, but the question is where will we buy our polony, who will we trust?— Dr Dominik Heil, Reputation institute lecturer at Wits Business School
Heil says right now consumers will ask themselves questions before they buy any of the products that were recalled - even if they are not made by Enterprise.
A lot of people will suffer from this who actually have done nothing wrong.— Dr Dominik Heil, Reputation institute lecturer at Wits Business School
To hear the rest of the conversation with Dr Heail, listen below: