The sanctity of the iconic Faure Kramat has come under threat recently, after the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) became aware of the emergence of several land claimants, who are seeking to acquire portions of the Zandvliet farm. The MJC have also expressed frustration at the lack of progress in their attempts to have the area declared as a Muslim Heritage Site, despite having lodged their claim more than 15 years ago.
According to researcher, Nazeem Braaf, the land in question was originally acquired by Muslim owners back in 1862, when parts of the farm was subdivided by then owner, Peter Lawrence Cloete. He said the agreement that was made as part of the transfer, included the right of the Muslims to have access to over 200 hectares of the land. He described the deal as being an ‘undisturbed right’ that the Muslims had acquired.
“It is precisely that piece of land, the access to those 200 hectares which without a doubt the Muslims have used uninterrupted over 200 years, that is now under threat today,” he said.
He stressed that the land at risk was not that of the Kramat itself, but rather the 200 hectares that surrounded it.
With the MJC having originally submitted a claim for the land before the first cut-off date for claimants back in 1998, Braaf expressed surprise at how long it was taking for their claim to be validated.
The slow nature of the process prompted MJC president, Maulana Ighsaan Hendricks, to submit a letter directly to President Jacob Zuma, calling for direct intervention into the matter.
“It is clear that there was intervention (by the MJC) to understand and investigate why this site of critical, and historical significance to the Muslim community of SA, was not entertained by the Land Claims Commission in the Western Cape,” he said.
Braaf noted that intervention had kicked in at a political level, with a meeting being held between the MJC and the chief director of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. In that meeting, the department had given their firm commitment that no other claims would be entertained, until the MJC’s claim was fully assessed.
Describing the land in question as the birthplace of Islam in South Africa, MJC secretary general, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie, said it was imperative that the land was persevered as a heritage site for future generations. He called for the mobilization of the entire Muslim community, to protest and raise awareness to the significance of the Faure Kramat.
“We are now in a position where the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who annually visits this particular land, must be brought together (to address the issue),” he explained.
Referencing the letter written to President Jacob Zuma, he said the MJC had opted to take their appeal to the highest authority within the country.
“This is a critical juncture that we are at, because this is the right of all Muslims in our country. Therefore we are appealing to every household and every member of the community of across the country, to say that we need to lay claim to that which is the heritage of Muslims within our country,” he said.
The MJC will be hosting a gathering at the Faure Kramat on the 24thSeptember, to raise awareness to the issue. Community members have been urged to attend the event. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)