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MJC advisory panel set to be diverse

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The launch of an Independent Advisory Panel is an important and significant step towards improved good governance and transparency in the financial affairs of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), but will also contribute to informing strategic planning decisions to improve the contribution and service the ulema provides to the Muslim community. So says political strategist Abdul Waheed Patel, who has taken up the cudgels, to lead the nominations committee for this all important panel.

In line with the imminent 70 year anniversary of the MJC, the religious body on Tuesday announced the groundbreaking launch of the Independent Advisory Panel. The move has been seen as a progressive move on the part of the MJC, with the panel set to provide counsel and “impartial independent expertise”, in areas which are not the organizations forte.

To help establish a process of nominations for the new panel, the body has also announced the formation of an Independent Nominations Committee. The committee will not only establish criteria for potential nominees, but will also engage with, identify and recommend suitable candidates to serve on the panel.

Speaking to VOC Breakfast Beat after the announcement, Patel said the main objective of the new committee will be to issue a call to potential nominees, who will have to put forward their credentials and highlight how best they can serve as part of the advisory panel.

“They will have to provide ongoing strategic guidance, counsel, thought-leadership, insight and expertise to the MJC. This is in a range of subject matters that are not the exclusive domain of the MJC,” he explained.

The committee is made up of three prominent and reputable members of the Muslim community. Apart from Patel, who is the managing director of Ethicore Consulting, it includes UCT associate professor in the Department of Law, Prof. Wahieda Amien; and businessman and community leader, Sulaiman Noor Muhammad (Solly Noor). The group will likely convene for their first meeting within the coming days.

Patel, who has been tasked as the committee’s convener, said their task now would be to ensure the running of a credible and transparent nominations process, to be completed in the shortest possible time.

Ahead of the group’s first meeting, Patel said they would seek to agree on how best to implement the terms of reference that they have agreed to take on from the MJC. This included making recommendations on what criteria to use, when assessing potential nominees.

“I think the obvious one is that we want people who are in fact subject matter experts, in the various areas and categories of expertise that we will be looking to. We are looking for people who are deeply schooled, deeply experienced, trained and skilled in a range of areas,” he explained.

He added that they would seek to have all processes completed before the 10th February 2015, which would coincide with the official 70th anniversary of the MJC’s inception.

In a statement on the launch of the advisory panel, the MJC highlighted the need for such an independent council within the organization.

“Like many organizations, the MJC has realized that it needs to continuously assess the environment within which it is operating and needs to reinvent itself by adopting innovative approaches in order to advance its mandate and responsibilities to society,” read the statement.

The nominations process for the Independent Advisory Panel is likely to run from the 17th November, until the 17th December. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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