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Muslims gather for ASRI conference

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Muslims from across the spectrum are gathering in Johannesburg this weekend for the Muslim Civil Society Conference, the first of its kind in South Africa. Members of national government, ulema, academics, business leaders, community activists and Muslim media will convene to develop a “Muslim response” to the current political and social challenges facing the country. The conference aims to understand how Muslims can play a role in the transformation of South Africa. Discussions will have a particular focus on the National Development Plan (NDP), which is the South African government’s vision for the growth of the country.

The event kicks off with a gala dinner at the Wanderers Club on Friday evening from 6pm. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the key note address to be broadcasted live on VOC after Esha.

The conference on Saturday will focus on eight sections of the NDP. Discussions will be directed by panels of prominent personalities from government, civil society, labour and business.

The panel discussions:

Improving Education, Training and Innovation

Moderator : Shafiq Morton – Voice of the Cape
Government Leader : Naledi Pandor – Minister of Science and Technology
Labour Leader : John Maluleke – Secretary General SADTU
Business Leader : Ahmed Sheikh – MD Regent Business School
Civil Society Leader : Prof. Khadija Moloi – VUT Faculty of Education
Civil Society leader : Zackie Achmat – Chairperson Equal Education

Building Safer Communities

Moderator : Khadija Patel – The Daily Vox
Government Leader : Commissioner Riah Phiyega – SAPS
Opposition Leader : Shadow Minister of Police – DA
Business Leader : Susan Seabi – Business Against Crime (Chair) NW Province
Civil Society Leader : Yusuf Abramjee – LeadSA and Crimeline
Civil Society Leader : Feroz Cachalia – Wits School of Law

Promoting Health

Moderator : Dr. Faisal Suliman – Radio Al Ansaar
Government Leader : Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi – Minister of Health
Opposition Leader : Prof. Nomafrench Mbombo – Western Cape MEC of Health
Business Leader : Dr. Farouk Kaka – CEO Lenmed Hospital Group
Civil Society Leader : Dr. Nonhlanhla Nxumalo – Wits Centre for Health Policy
Civil Society Leader: Prof. Zameer Brey – University of Cape Town

Fighting Corruption

Moderator : Ml. Sulaimaan Ravat – Radio Islam International
Government Leader : Hon. Mr. Pravin Gordhan – Minister of Cooperative Governance
Labour Leader : Zwelinzima Vavi – COSATU Secretary General
Business Leader : Koko Khumalo – Deputy President BMF
Civil Society Leader : Eusebius McKaiser – Wits Centre for Ethics
Civil Society Leader : Shauket Fakie – Fmr. Auditor General of SA

Transforming Society and Uniting the Country

Moderator : Ashraf Garda – SABC SAFM Radio
Government Leader : Hon. Nkosi Patekile Holomisa – Dep. Minister of Labour
Opposition Leader : Andile Mngxitama – Fmr. MP EFF
Religious Leader : Rev. Dr. Frank Chikane – President AFM
Civil Society Leader : Ml. Abbas Mkhize – Chairperson TBDSA
Civil Society Leader: Ms. Nadia Meer – Director of Ukasa Designs

Creating Employment

Moderator : Farid Sayed – Muslim Views
Government Leader : Premier David Makhura – Gauteng Premier
Opposition Leader : Hon. Floyd Shivambu – EFF Chief Whip
Business Leader : Sharif Hoosen – Executive Director Meago Asset Mngt.
Civil Society Leader : Mr. Yusuf Randera-Rees – CEO of the Awethu Project
Civil Society Leader : Ms. Sharmiela Garnie – Executive Director Job Creation Trust

Protecting the Environment

Government Leader : Hon. Edna Molewa – Minister of Environmental Affairs
Opposition Leader : Mr. Lewis Gordon Pugh – Treasure Karoo Action Group
Business Leader : . Yusuf Raja – ARUP
Civil Society Leader : Michael O’Brian Onyeka – Greenpeace Africa
Civil Society Leader : Prof. Mohammed Karaan – Dean of Agrisciences (U. Stellenbosch)

Effectively Implementing Policy

Moderator : Peter Ndoro – SABC Television
Government Leader : Hon. Jeff Radebe – Minister in the Presidency
Policy Expert : Prof. Steven Friedman – Centre for the Study of Democracy
Business Leader : Mr. Cas Coovadia – Banking Association of South Africa
Civil Society Leader : Dr. Shabir Moosa – Wits Chiawelo Community Practice
Civil Society Leader : Mr. Godwin Khoza – National Education Collaboration Trust

The conference is the launchpad for the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute (ASRI), a pluralist domestic public policy think tank. The intent is for ASRI to be a focal point for domestic public policy discussions, applied research, and advocacy in the aforementioned areas. ASRI aims to activate Muslim civil society on domestic policy issues and together with other civil society groups to collectively take ownership of the future of Muslims, starting with engaging the National Development Plan (NDP).

The conference Programme and detailed information can be viewed at VOC

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