Political party Al Jama-ah has launched its election manifesto in Cape Town ahead of the holy month of Ramadan this week and says that it needs the votes of the Muslim community. The party, which was established more than decade ago, will have 30 candidates contesting polls in the Western Cape. The number of candidates is a considerable increase from the 2011 local government elections, in which it had a meagre five contesting candidates. The party currently has one councillor in the City of Cape Town and one in Johannesburg.
Speaking to VOC, president of Al-Jama-ah Ganief Hendricks said that the party has registered candidates in over 300 wards throughout the country, including all 116 wards in the City of Cape Town.
“We hope to win ten ward seats, but then we would need the Muslim vote,” Hendricks said.
While he urged the Muslim community to support Al-Jama-ah, he said that the party has garnered the support from members of other faith groups.
“They have given Al-Jama-ah their support, because they are disillusioned by other parties and feel that Al-Jama-ah, with its Islamic ethos, is a platform with which they have no quarrel.”
Hendricks further noted Al-Jama-ah supporters have shown interest in the parties 2016 manifesto, which he says speaks to the concerns of the community.
He explained that the party has employed a new mechanism in which new political science and public policy graduates are standing as candidates.
According to Hendricks, the graduates have ascertained that wards within the City of Cape Town have not been allocated a budget, which he says is operationally necessary.
“They have identified that in the City of Cape Town there are no budgets for the wards. [So] how can you promise service delivery if there is no budget for the wards – there is only a corporate budget that deals with the priorities of the ruling party,” Hendricks continued.
In response to the findings, the party intends to develop a budget for each ward.
Al-Jama-ah candidates for Mayor of Cape Town include; activist Fairouz Nagia-Luddy, who is contesting Kensington, Maitland, and Factreton, political science major Noorjaan Allie and attorney Zaheer Parker, who Hendricks says will assist in securing the Indian vote.
Despite fighting to secure the position of mayor, he said that the candidates are currently focussing on winning their respective wards
“The candidates are concentrating on winning their wards and do not want to distract from that at the moment,” Hendricks concluded.