Despite disparaging remarks from nay-sayers in the general public, the Nominations Committee tasked to facilitate and constitute a new Independent Advisory Panel for the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said their process to aid the religious body is on track. Addressing the media on Friday, committee chairperson Abdul Waheed Patel said following a meeting earlier in the week, the group agreed on releasing details for nominations in coming days. This will include applications, and details of the vetting process involved.
But for detractors of their process, Patel said the committee and the panel it will facilitate has no intention of investigating the MJC and its actions.
“There have been misinterpretations of the role of this committee. There have been public statements via certain community media that this committee was set up to investigate the affairs of the MJC. That was then taken further to say we will be appointing the panel to also investigate the MJC. Neither of these sentiments is true,” he explained.
“The terms of reference for our role is very clear in the documentation that is out there in the public sphere, nowhere does it say it’s our job to investigate the MJC.”
He said some of the remarks made by members of the public who find fault with the Committee have come close to personal insults.
“The most concerning [remarks] are those asking why the MJC has not appointed a group of people who are more religious in their outlook. We felt that was unnecessary. None of us seek credit for the work we do, when we spoke publicly about this task we were told of the negative sentiment that is directed at the MJC. And the moment we took on this task we took on the burden of some of that sentiment. But this is not a religious process that we are conducting with the nominations process, so it’s not relevant,” he added.
Patel said the Advisory Panel would do just that, advise the MJC on pertinent issues that they have to deal with as a public organization serving a large group of people. The previous roles for advisory members will now be reshuffled to accommodate new issues and the specialization of the skills of the persons appointed to the Panel in future.
The subject matter areas will be changed from: ‘Politics’ to ‘Political Affairs and Public Policy’; ‘Education’ to ‘Education, Skills Development and Training’; ‘Community Development’ will now become ‘Community Development’ and ‘Community Healthcare’.
Patel said nominees will be vetted to ensure they are qualified to advise the MJC’s structure on decisions pertaining to these fields. He explained, however that the vetting process will only be explained once the nomination process has been opened to the public.
“We don’t want to pre-empt anything, we’ll be releasing all the details in the coming week.” VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)