Ahead of the swearing in of members in the National Assembly on Wednesday, the President of the first Muslim party to enter parliament took a pledge on an invaluable Quran in Bo Kaap.
Al Jama-ah president Ganief Hendricks said he chose the Auwal Masjid as it is the first masjid in the country and because the Holy Quran housed there is priceless. It was written from the memory of iconic political prisoner and teacher Tuan Guru in the 17th century, whilst he was on exile on Robben Island.
Hendricks explained that he felt it was only fitting to pay tribute in this manner.
“The Malays and Indonesians were the first freedom fighters against colonialism in South Africa and they were recognized by the government as National Heroes. I thought that before I am sworn in ads a member of parliament I should pay homage to the freedom fighters because if they didn’t start their struggle against colonialism, I would not ve able to go to parliament we would still be under colonial or apartheid rule.”
Hendricks pledged to “better the lives of Muslims and South Africans in general.”
The party’s President pointed out that issues affecting Muslims will be on top of his agenda going in to Parliament.
Amid ongoing disputes and court battles relating to muslim marriages being recognized by the State, Hendricks said the issue will be among the most important.
“When I was born, my birth certificate indicated that I was illegitimate and when I die (a married man) it will say I was never married. So my dignity has been harmed from the cradle to the grave and so many muslims. I think after 325 years and 25 years into a democracy, legal consequences for the nikkah should have been granted already.”
He noted that South Africa’s “Halaal reputation” also needs to be restored and that the Hajj economy is one that can promote employment.
Hendricks highlighted that the party is not exclusively for muslims and that there is a variety of race, age and backgrounds.
He cited outspoken student leader Nontobeko Aisha Mkhwanazi, who is at a youthful 20-years-old and “is a black female Muslim (that) would appeal to not only the black Islamic community, but also the youth within it”
Hendricks noted that he will be requesting the Chief Justice to have a Quran present, apart from the conventional Bible, when he affirms his commitments in the House on Wednesday.