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Al Jama-ah manifesto: food baskets, NHI and digital divide

Al Jama-ah manifesto: food baskets, NHI  and digital divide
Al Jama-ah Leader Ganief Hendricks and Kabelo Gwamanda at the Al Jama-Ah National Manifesto launch at Harmony Primary School on March 09, 2024 in Lenasia, South Africa. The manifesto launch provided a platform for the Al Jama-ah to outline its plans for the 2024 national and provincial polls. (Photo by Gallo Images/Papi Morake)

This article originally appeared as an elections newsletter by Ferial Haffajee. Here, we break down everything you need to know before the big vote. This week, we unpack the manifesto of the political party Al Jama-ah.

 All about

  • Al Jama-ah is a political party that has grown out of the Muslim community but now wants to be a party for all.
  • It promotes an ethical position on politics, it says.
  • It is a reliable partner of the ANC in local government coalitions and so has won 11 important beachhead positions for its members, like that of Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda.
  • The party has worked with civil society to win equal rights for Muslim marriages.

Crime and corruption, community safety

  • Will be “wiping out corruption and nepotism at all levels” to “restore public confidence” in both the private and public spheres.
  • Will offer better training opportunities for police officers to “instil accountability and ethical services”.
  • Plans to enhance community policing partnerships for safety and security.
  • Says it wants law enforcement agencies to operate with integrity, transparency and accountability.


  • Its principles are Muslim social democrat.
  • Al Jama-ah supports charitable giving across communities (in line with Islamic principles, where you have to share your income with those who do not have enough to live in dignity).
  • Supports co-operatives with a particular focus on rural economies.
  • Equitable ownership and distribution of the tools of production.


  • Special focus on levelling the digital divide.
  • Preparing young people with skills, plus “habits of mind” and “ways of seeing” for “the fourth industrial revolution”.
  • Special focus on adult basic education to achieve complete national literacy.
  • Free stationery and textbooks at basic, higher and tertiary education levels.

Elders, women, youth and people with disabilities

  • Supports care for elders and other vulnerable groups.


  • Various points detailed in a section on developing youth skills empowerment.


  • Supports a sustainable mix of energy solutions including renewables and nuclear energy.
  • Food security and basic income
  • Wants to widen the VAT-exempt food basket.
  • Support for food security in both urban and rural areas.
  • Achieved through better grants and personal hygiene items (pads, toiletries etc).

Global policy

  • Supports solidarity with Palestine.


  • Supports better funding for local government.
  • Promotes the recognition and practice of Muslim personal law.

NHI and health

  • Supports the NHI Bill.
  • Would like real-time measures to “avoid corruption and sloppy service delivery”.


  • The party stands against extremism and bigotry, it says.
  • Water
  • Ensures the right to clean, drinkable water.

Reality check

  • In Johannesburg, the party’s two councillors have been less than effective, although the party claims they are responsible for an improved city.
    (Daily Maverick does not know the work of its other councillors well enough to make a call. Ed.)

What’s good?

  • The party has a long history of charitable endeavour and its proposals for food security are important.
  • With civil society, Al Jama-ah has campaigned successfully for placing Muslim marriages on an equal footing with civil marriages.

Sign up to Elections ’24 newsletter here. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Manifestos; voting FAQs and the latest news


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