Ganief Hendricks is the current Party Leader (2017) of Aljama-ah, a councilor in the City of Cape Town and its Presidential candidate for the 2019 National elections.
Why Al Jama-ah was established
The Al Jama-ah Political Party was established in 2007 by its Party Leader, Ganief Hendricks , that instead of finger pointing, Muslims could play a sincere and positive role, contributing to the transformation of post Apartheid South Africa, for the benefit of all South Africans.
The Constitution of South Africa supports the system of a multi party democracy, as opposed to a single party state. According to The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), domination of one political party in South Africa will be detrimental to freedom in South Africa. What is best for South Africa is a diversity of political parties with competing policies.
A few highlights since establishment
In April 2009, Al Jama-ah participated in the National Elections in all nine provinces, narrowly missing a Parliamentary seat. When 87% of the vote was counted the Party was allocated a seat but was later narrowly beaten by another Party.
Out of 45 Parties it was placed 9th. In the 2011 Municipal Elections, Al Jama-ah tested the waters in the City of Cape Town and City of Johannesburg, scoring a huge victory and won a seat each in these respective cities, duly represented by Party Leader, Cllr. Ganief Hendricks in Cape Town and Gauteng Province Chairman, Cllr. Abdul Razak Noorbhai in Johannesburg.
1) October 2008, Al Jama-ah was ‘the only’ political party that submitted an oral complaint to ICASA, on the Draft Regulations on Party Election Broadcasts, Political Advertising and Equitable Treatment of political parties. The party asked for equal air time on State media.
2) November 2008, after a six year battle in an agreement brokered at the CCMA, Ganief Hendricks secured a provident fund, for the physically and mentally disabled, as General Secretary of their respective trade union, W.A.R. (Workers Against Regression).
3) March 2011, Al Jama-ah was ordered by the South Gauteng High Court, as the appropriate authority to convey views of its constituency on the Muslim Marriages Bill to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. This was for the very ‘first time in the history of the High Court’, that ‘a Political Party’ had been so ordered.
4) July 2011,Al Jama-ah made verbal and written submissions to Parliament, curbing the Constitutional Court from having jurisdiction to be the Apex Court to hear appeals on Shari’ah and other religious rites of minority groups. Once more, for the ‘first time in the history of the new South Africa’, that a Portfolio Committee of Parliament had been so directly confronted.
5) September 2011, Al Jama-ah laid a complain on Human Rights Day, with the Human Rights Commission of South Africa, against the Minister of Home Affairs for harming the dignity of Muslims married in accordance with Islamic rites, classifying Muslim women as ‘never married’ written on their death certificate.
6) November 2011, Al Jama-ah celebrated Johannesburg’s 125th anniversary at a garden luncheon. Lenasia Muslim Brigade was appointed guard of honour for dignitaries gracing the event from various Embassies with the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Cllr. Mpho (Parks) Tau as the special guest of honour.
7) December 2011, Al Jama-ah’s Gauteng Chairman and Chief Whip, Cllr.Abdul Razak Noorbhai, represented the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan at the International COP 17 function held in Durban. He exchanged views from and within an Islamic perspective, interacting on environmental and climate change issues with the Mayor of Delhi; Prof.Rajni Abbi, Dr. Tawfeek Fulami; senior advisor to Lagos State, Nigeria; and Mr. Saber Chowdury of the Global Inter-Parliamentary Union amongst the many delegates.
8) February 2012, Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille was questioned by Party Leader and Chief Whip Cllr. Ganief Hendricks on the re-labelling saga by Orion Meat Co. Al Jama-ah’s position is that Halaal vendors are not the statutory authorities to deal with contraventions and transgressions of the ‘Foodstuff Act of 1972’. This is the responsibility of Municipalities and their respective Department of Health delegated by the Department of Agriculture.
9) March 2012, Al Jama-ah initiated the ‘Bosmont 50th Anniversary’ steering committee, in conjunction with residents of this township, as well as various other stakeholders. Cllr.Abdul Razak Noorbhai addressed Council, stipulating that Bosmont is a ‘township’ due to forced removals by the Apartheid regime.
10) April 2012, Cllr. Abdul Razak Noorbhai addressed Council on Islamic Finance, showcasing the resilience of Islamic Finance, by not being riba based, can help alleviate many of the City’s financial constraints. A consultative process with relevant stakeholders is being formulated, in a soon to be arranged workshop with the City.
11) June 2012, Cllr. Ganief Hendricks proposed to the ‘Rights Commission’ that the two Eids be recognised , in accordance with legislation of the Public Holidays Act (Section 2.2), as paid public holidays. Many employers fail to implement Chapter 3 (Section 15.2B) of the Employment Equity Act (Act 55 of 1998), depriving employees of their basic labour rights, not granting them equal dignity in celebrating their respective religious and cultural holidays.
12) The Party demanded that the City of Johannesburg withdraws an interdict banning the athaan to be broadcast at the Riverlea Mosque.
Roadmap for 2014
Al Jama-ah wants to promote a better understanding of our community’s culture and practices in a multicultural and pluralistic society, by not sacrificing our own value system, maintaining our identity, sharing not only our faith, but by how much and what else we have to offer in transforming and restoring balance.
Al Jama-ah has great potential to tackle the many social challenges facing the country. South Africa is a nation in the making, and its people have come to accept that we are a multicultural and diverse society.
As Muslims, the attitude we take in our role as citizens of this country, will determine our impact and participation in the future. South African Muslims can and must play a vital role by participating in the political arena, shaping the landscape of our country instead of just being mere figures in the landscape.
Al Jama-ah firmly believes, that with the absence of a true Muslim voice in Parliament, there will always be a gap in any effort the lawmakers make, to nurture the spirit of national unity and nation building, unless (with other faith based groups), Islamic morals and values are shared with them
On 15 June 2013 Al Jama-ah intends hosting a policy conference, identifying how Islamic policies and guidelines can assist government on the second phase of its transition. In this regard, Al Jama-ah has made a CALL FOR ABSTRACTS. One of the first outcomes will be an interest free State Bank for South Africa.
The initiative to muster and consult the best minds in our communities is part of Al Jama-ah’s broader plan towards 2021. It is only by drawing on the best available expertise that we can identify and confront challenges head-on. This does not mean that Al Jama-ah wants to make South Africa an Islamic State, but it is time that we share Shari’ah values for the coming years.
The combination of Islamic tenets can strengthen the Ubuntu culture in our respective communities. Al Jama-ah is in fact one of the founding signatories to the annual Ubuntu awards. The very foundation of Al Jama-ah is a legacy of struggle, peace, justice, morality, equality and freedom. Al Jama-ah does not have a discriminatory profiling based on colour, creed, culture, ethnicity, gender, race, tribe etc.
ALJAMA contested the 2016 LGE and won 9 seats. The Party had the balance of power in the Estcourt municipality and negotiated a deputy mayor position. It’s votes in the City of Cape Town quadrupled.
The Party intends contesting the 2019 National and Provincial elections and if it wins a seat in Parliament it can have a sustainable National Office.
The parallel focus is the 2021 LGE and it is within the reach of the Party to win 100 council seats in the 2000 municipalities. This will enhance the sustainability of the National Office.
In 2009 a policy was adopted that councillors pay 10% of their stipend so that the Party has a sustainable national office. Many councillors are still reluctant to fully comply with this policy. If this continues the Party intends removing their names from the Party list at end of membership year and not approving their membership for the next year.
In March 2017 the Party plans to officially launch Aljamamedia it’s online radio station which consists of blogs with a catch up feature. Test runs have been successful.
Plans are in place to hold a consultative Conference, a policy conference and an elective conference and this will feature in the radio shows rolling out.
The Party is firm on its membership policy and there continues to be attempts to hijack the Party and close it down. Developing Party stalwarts and having more paid up card carrying members is a priority of the Party.