Al Jam-ah political party leader and councillor, Ganief Hendricks has once again come under fire for allegedly contravening the City of Cape Town’s code of conduct by forcing City officials to act against the Open Mosque. Hendricks is accused of portraying the Open Mosque founder, Dr Taj Hargey in a negative light, following claims that the building was not rezoned for religious purposes. Hendricks called for officials to investigate the building, saying Dr Hargey has not applied to change the use of the building from a warehouse to a mosque.
Hendricks said the complaint by the Democratic Alliance is being tabled by the Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Dr Johan Van De Merwe. Wednesday was the deadline for the DA’s complaints to be lodged to the disciplinary committee along with a response from Hendricks’ legal team.
“The speaker of the committee, Alderman Dirk Smit, will now consider all arguments in this matter and duly notify me and other parties involved when a hearing will be taking place,” Hendricks explained.
Hendricks has openly objected to the Open Mosque in the media. But according to him, due to the number of capacities he serves in, his words have been misconstrued by reporters. Media have referred to his comments as an official comment from the City.
“I maintain that I have done nothing wrong in this matter. I often gave comment in my own personal capacity or as a member of the Al Jam-Ah political party,” Hendricks added.
“If they find me guilty they can fire me as a councillor or fine me accordingly.”
Hendricks said when it was brought to the [DA]’s attention that no attempts have been made to change the premises of the Open Mosque from light industrial to place of worship, they still allowed the mosque to operate.
“The premises and building itself does not meet the necessary requirements for and is a suitable place for worship,” Hendricks added.
However, in light of all the controversy, Hendricks further added: “The press went on to misconstrue my comments by saying ‘the City has decided’ when quoting me.”
Due to his position as a DA councillor, Hendricks said he was told that his comments did not necessarily echo the democratic sentiments of the City and further painted a bad picture of the City council’s governance.
“At this point we do not know what will be happening. We tried to give the chair a legal position that there are no merits in the complaint. We respect the decision of the disciplinary committee,” Hendricks further added.
VOC could not reach Dr Johan Van De Merwe for comment. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)