By Anees Teladia
“We feel that the moral voice of Islam must be in the corridors of power.” This was the view of the Al Jama-ah political party leader, Ganief Hendricks, who believes smaller political parties can make a meaningful difference in the current political climate.
With national and provincial elections fast approaching, Hendricks addressed many concerns surrounding both the Western Cape Province and the country on VOC’s Breakfast Beat Show. Among other things, Hendricks attempted to unpack the party’s manifesto and clarify their stance on some contentious issues.
Hendricks emphasised that despite the Al Jama-ah party being based on religious faith and utilising the slogan “Deen First” they embrace all communities. The party claims to follow what they term the ”Medina Model”, which allows for people to practice their religions freely.
Hendricks believes this to be in accordance with the South African constitution and to thus further illustrate how Al Jama-ah, with its Islamic emphasis, will contribute to South African society.
The Al Jama-ah manifesto for 2019 affirms the party’s commitment to the South African constitution, whilst addressing key areas of concern. The manifesto aims to foster political stability through the continued maintenance of governmental legitimacy and peace. It also mentions the need to embrace technological and industrial advancements, in an effort to improve youth unemployment rates.
Stressing the need to protect the rights of women, children and minorities, the manifesto simultaneously calls for the provision of justice and civic partnership on various levels.
“That will contribute to real transformation in the country and give meaning to the constitution,” said Hendricks.
Roughly one third of the Al Jama-ah party is not Muslim, according to Hendricks, which he believes is significant in proving that Al Jama-ah is not merely a party for Muslims.
When questioned on issues relating to political policy and plans, Hendricks expressed concern over the Democratic Alliance’s plans in the Western Cape.
“In Johannesburg, and I think it’s coming to Cape Town because it’s their policy, they are forming a mosque desk so that Jama’at Khanas in homes or businesses will be prevented from being used as such, if they are not specifically zoned as a mosque.”
“They want to regulate prayers in people’s homes…the present (Western Cape) ruling party even wants to allow selling alcohol in schools.”
Hendricks continued to illustrate his point by adding that Muslims in the Western Cape are being prevented from migrating into areas typically deemed wealthier and preferable to some.
“The Western Cape ruling party doesn’t want Muslims to creep into beach and leafy suburbs – so they block zoning of land for mosques,” asserted Hendricks.
The Al Jama-ah Party seeks to obtain four seats in the Western Cape, which they believe will “give a balance of power” to the province.
They are aiming to contest both national and provincial elections, including within their concerns issues relating to the legal recognition of religious marriages.
Youth unemployment was acknowledged by Hendricks to be a particularly pressing matter.
“These are the issues that we have to deal with,” said Hendricks.