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Al Jama-ah sets sights on ‘unseating DA in Western Cape’

Al Jama-ah sets sights on ‘unseating DA in Western Cape’
Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks at the party's manifesto launch at Harmony Primary School in Lenasia on 9 March 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

Al Jama-ah founder Ganief Hendricks says that although the party would have liked to increase its presence in various provinces, it was eyeing mostly the Western Cape and Gauteng.

Political party Al Jama-ah, with a single seat in Parliament, is aware it won’t take over as government when the country heads to the polls on 29 May 2024 – it will, however, rally behind any party with the exception of the DA, IFP, UDM and ActionSA.   

The party has in the past supported the ANC in crucial votes in Parliament and they have worked together through coalitions in metros including Johannesburg. 

Speaking to Daily Maverick, the founder and leader of Al Jama-ah, Ganief Hendricks, said: “The only reason we most of the time vote for the ANC, is because they have the roots in the foundation of the liberation movement of Oliver Tambo and those before him.  

“So, whichever party governs South Africa with those kinds of roots, Al Jama-ah will support them even if it’s the MK party, and even if it is the EFF…” 

Al Jama-ah, the only Muslim political party in the country, has been in Parliament since 2019 and has been battling to increase its support base.   

Al Jama-ah

Al Jama-ah launched its 2024 election manifesto at Harmony Primary School in Lenasia on 9 March 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

With the elections fast approaching, Hendricks said although the party wanted to increase its presence in various provinces, it was eyeing mostly the Western Cape and Gauteng.   

Read more in Daily Maverick: Changing of the guard? Small parties snap at DA’s heels in Western Cape 

“We are working very hard to remove the DA in the Western Cape and we will work with anyone to do this. We have the support of big private businesses and donors who never used to fund us, but now they are,” he said.  

For the past year the party has been the subject of much public discussion because of its role in Joburg’s administration. 

In January 2023, it had one of its three councillors in the city, Thapelo Amad, elected as mayor. He lasted 87 days in office.  

In May 2023, the party had yet another councillor, Kabelo Gwamanda, elected into the same position which he continues to occupy. In a media interview, Gwamanda suggested he could be “a black version of John Steenhuisen” (Steenhuisen does not have a university degree). He made the remark when quizzed about his highest qualification while appearing at his first public engagement after taking the position.   

Gwamanda also made headlines when the Financial Sector Conduct Authority alleged that he ran a funeral services scheme that conned Soweto residents.    

Read more in Daily Maverick: New Joburg mayor defends allegations of dodgy dealings and lack of qualifications 

Under both the mayors the city has been battling a lack of service delivery, including intermittent water and electricity supply. Residents have taken to the streets to protest, with several promises made to them.

Hendricks, however, believes “we have been able to bring about stability and it shows as the City was able to get a clean audit outcome from the Auditor-General”. 

Here are five key takeaways from Al Jama-ah’s manifesto, which was launched on 29 March in Lenasia, Johannesburg. 

Provision of basic resources

“Ensuring that safe, drinkable water, which is a basic right for all, is accessible to all without discriminating against anyone. Safeguarding household food security across the country in urban and rural areas. Removing VAT on all essential household items.

“Providing free stationery and textbooks at basic, higher and tertiary education levels. Guaranteeing that every individual has equitable access to vital resources in order to live a dignified life. Since this is non-negotiable, the party calls for ‘people over profits!’” 

Economic transformation 

“Alleviating the plight of consumers in an increasingly harsh global economic climate. Being in touch with the lived experience of South African people – party members will not live in ivory towers.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

“Enhancing access to economic opportunities for every citizen. Working to achieve zero VAT on bread, milk, eggs and other basic food items to relieve the dire conditions faced by people below the poverty line. Promoting household food security.”

Decent job opportunities 

“Implementing non-discriminatory and sustainable socioeconomic policies that unlock dignified, decent jobs for everyone, as we strive towards full employment opportunities. 

“Promoting the ownership of the productive and economic resources and capacities by local communities to dismantle structural inequalities.”

An Al Jama-ah supporter arrives for the party’s manifesto launch at Harmony Primary School in Lenasia on 9 March 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks and Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda at the party’s national manifesto launch at Harmony Primary School in Lenasia on 9 March 2024. (Photo by Gallo Images/Papi Morake)

Quality education for all  

“Striving towards creating an equitable education system and environment that enables every child to grow and thrive holistically. 

“Guaranteeing that every child has access to well-resourced public educational institutions. Building a future where every child has the opportunity to reach his/her full potential and contribute to the country’s collective success.”

The right to health  

“Working towards increased investment in the health sector. Granting everyone the right to dignified and quality healthcare.

“Supporting the NHI initiative. Setting up (mobile) clinics and (roving) paramedical structures in urban and rural areas.

“Ensuring quality control, management and performance of all hospitals and primary health centres with real-time oversight to avoid corruption and sloppy service delivery.” DM

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  • Bryan Mitchell says:

    oh dear……..we will work with any party with revolutionary roots ?? no matter how much they steal……….
    Milk, bread and eggs are already zero rated 🙂
    Providing safe drinking water……lol your Josie team doing a brilliant job already I see.

    How could you vote for these clowns??

  • Ritchie Morris says:

    The same Mr Hendricks who said on SAFM this morning when being interviewed by Stephen Grootes that, ‘woman must stay at home and chill as its the man’s job to provide for his family’, plus later in the interview, ‘to hell with the constitution’. What an utter buffoon and he thinks this view on equality and life makes him a leader. Disgrace.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Nothing about how to grow the country and its wealth……just wants to spend

  • Roland Gemmell says:

    This party is against corruption and yet they support the ANC (or others of the same cloth) in an effort to oust the DA – what hippocrits!!

  • Michael Kearney says:

    The calibre of their very short-lived Mayor of Johannesburg says it all.

  • John Kannemeyer says:

    I am sure the residents in the Western Cape will be thrilled not to have water soon, like Western JHB, courtesy of Al Jama-ah the ANC and their merry men.

  • Mo Sheikh says:

    this lot would not be out of place in a Monty Python movie

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Aah yes…with the help of the Gift of the Givers who can now become a legit Political Party based in the Muslim faith – was always going to happen ….Gaza has helped it sooner than we thought!
    One thing I do know – religion and politics do not mix well – Ireland is a good example!

    • John P says:

      Whilst I agree that religion and politics should never share a bed your casting of the Gift of the Givers in the same mould as Al Jamah-ah can only be a distorted view brought about by Islamophobia.

      • Gavin Hillyard says:

        100%. They do amazing work

        • Lysergic Acid says:

          Yeah I don’t think GOTG will venture into politics, it would ruin all the amazing work they do.

        • Jane Crankshaw says:

          I agree that they do a great job and I have in the past supported their sterling efforts but their appearance in parliament in support of the ICC challenge toIsrael, changed my opinion. It was a political act in our political arena – which did not sit well. Just my opinion.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Gift of the Givers is an incredible organisation that does fantastic work – don’t paint all Muslims with the same brush as the likes of Al Jama’ah!

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Based on his complete lack of scruples in terms of who he’d jump into bed with, perhaps they should change the name of the party to Al Capo-ne! Seriously, I’ve heard Hendricks on the radio a couple of times and he’s a complete buffoon.

      WilliamH – “I don’t think people want to mix religion with politics (unless you live in Pakistan or some other majority Islam country” or the USA, perhaps, where Trump counts religious zealots amongst his core support base?

  • R S says:

    These guys are ANC lackeys. Hopefully people don’t put religion before good governance in the WC.

  • John Smythe says:

    Al who?

  • Paul Alberts says:

    They are a religious movement not a political party.

  • Gavin Hillyard says:

    Pie in the sky? No mention of how all of this is to be funded. Nationlization of banks and insurance companies perhaps?

  • Justin Dent says:

    Hahaha hahaha 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • Justin Dent says:

    If they think SA or even Cape Town is going to become an Islamic terrorist state, then they got another thing coming 🤣

    • Ismail Lagardien says:

      Justin, I don’t for a minute support them. Could you explain how you reached “Islamic terrorist state”. If you actually believe that (honestly) then please explain.

      • Mark Ditto says:

        Ismail if you have not noticed the increase in islamic terrorism across africa (and around the world) you obviously have not being paying attention.

        • Ismail Lagardien says:

          Oh I have been “paying attention”. I have been paying attention to this trend for the better part of four decades, sometimes in detail, sometimes in seemingly detached academic work. I designed a course on Islam and the Muslim World in International Affairs which was attended by officers of the US military about 18 years ago. I doubt that will change your mind or make you reassess your statement. In fact, as I write this, I am in South East Asia looking at (among other) Rohingya refugees on the Myanmar-Thai border, and several other geo-political/geo-strategic issues (all of which I have studied for more than three decades). Again, I don’t expect you to even consider those things. Finally, my concern was this (and I am not speaking on behalf of any religion): How do you get from muslim/islamic beliefs to terrorism? I do not expect an answer on that. It would be like asking you to read about The Great Terror of 1937, or the French Reign of Terror in 1793-64… But since you have no inclination to get a long run view of terror, and terror as a tactic, I concede to you…

          • Jane Crankshaw says:

            I have a question – and it could just be me…but dont see any Emergency support, Aid, Airdrops, seaconvoys bringing in much needed food & medical supplies from the wealthy Muslim countries – Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, The Emirates, Iran etc….why is that? It seems to all be coming fromWestern countries and Israel…or amI imaging this?

  • Philip Wernberg says:

    Well there we go another party that supports corruption and lack of service delivery by aligning themselves with the ANC etc. Also no clue on how they will fund their grand plans. “Right to health” the mess the public health care is in has taken 30 years to reduce it to its current state. Health care professionals are unable to get work in the public health care system which has a shortage of skilled practitioners. NHI will be another place to steal money from South Africans by politicians.

    • Bob Dubery says:

      He’s not telling the whole truth. Al Jama-ah intitially joined a DA led coalition in Johannesburg. Then withdrew when they found an old record of the Mayor telling the people of Israel that Johannesburg would always be their friend (a comment she made in a speech before she was Mayor, which she had no authority to make, and which she subsequently had to publicly recant). That was when they decided to throw in their lot with the ANC and the EFF.

      So they’re really cut from the same cloth as the PA – they will cut a deal with whoever they think is going to give them some say.

  • William H says:

    I cannot see how any (non-fanatical) Muslim person will stand behind Mr Hendricks. SA is at least 80% Christian, yet where is the ACDP? I don’t think people want to mix religion with politics (unless you live in Pakistan or some other majority Islam country, and then it is not a choice in any case).

    The few Muslim people I know are moderate and intelligent, I cannot see them voting for this bafoon, nor being tricked/fooled by the ANC’s ICJ tactics.

    This guy is just another crook who wants to eat from the same trough as the ANC.

    • Tumelo Tumelo says:

      “The few Muslim people I know are moderate and intelligent, I cannot see them voting for this bafoon, nor being tricked/fooled by the ANC’s ICJ tactics”. This comment has just encapsulated what is wrong with the thinking of some non-black South Africans: the condescension without even batting an eyelid is truly breathtaking.

      • John P says:

        methinks you are over sensitive, there was no condescension in that post

        • Grumpy Old Man says:

          Methinks it is condescending! The writer is suggesting that only Muslim persons that don’t vote for this Buffoon would qualify as being moderate and intelligent in his eyes.
          Try ‘the few white Anglo Saxon protestant people I know are ‘moderate’ and intelligent’ on for size. The writer intimates that there are two kinds of Muslims – the moderate ones & the others who support radical views

      • T'Plana Hath says:

        Oh dear, looks like someone has no idea what ‘condescension’ is.
        (Hint: This. This is condescension.)

  • Samuel Ginsberg says:

    I guess Mr Gonif wants another 1% mayor.

  • Rdp Pdr says:

    I wonder if these wannabee politicians ever read the comment sections in the media?! The amount of self confidence is mind-boggling..

  • Brian Dutlow says:

    Amongst all the parties in the Western Cape. Al Jama-ah can be regarded as an extreme minority party. Although it would enjoy some support based on Islamic principal, most people are concerned about maintaining and building on the existing track record of the DA. The future is bright, based on strategies addressing loadshedding, water supply, transport, safety, education and health. These factors are miles ahead of all the other provinces. Finally jobs and investment are also far ahead of National indicators. This recent speech is for the unschooled, as is speeches by the rulling party. The unschooled donot know or care about about the mess the country has been driven into.

  • Tim Price says:

    I suspect their sights are set well off target. What an utter disaster this bunch will be for anyone living in a town or city where they have some power.

  • Chris Heymans says:

    I honestly cannot see any value in this party. Its principles and everything it has touched are not up to much; its decision-making crudely opportunistic and ill- informed ; its leadership dubious; it is not in the least interested in the public good; its sheer opportunism; and its lack of social inclusiveness.

    If they have any prospects of making a difference in the Western Cape it would be because the DA has been its own worst enemy in political judgement, damaging the credibility its service delivery record has brought ably led by its WC and CT leaders, which offer so much more than Steenhuisen); it’s overhasty response to and lack of nuance on the Middle East crisis; and its on-and-off approach to the continued need for politics of inclusion in post-apartheid South Africa.

  • Louis Fourie says:

    I’ve set my sights on unseating Chris Hemsworth as Thor.

  • David Pennington says:

    Well, just what SethEfrica needs , a bunch of religious psychopaths in governmunt

  • Bob Kuhn says:

    Your rabid muslim party has destroyed Johannesburg with your juvenile incompetent “mayor “running things for the anc /eff rabble, and now you want to destroy Cape Town….think again, sunshine !

  • Rae Earl says:

    And this party has determined that women should bear children, stay in the kitchen, and not be privy to anything that men do. South African women are not slaves! They are essential to our well being in business, science, economics, and society at all levels.
    We will resist any of your efforts to turn them into second class citizens Al Jama-ah. Your attitude is disgusting!

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