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Al Jama-ah member of Western Cape legislature forced to apologise after praying for ANC election win

Al Jama-ah member of Western Cape legislature forced to apologise after praying for ANC election win
Member of the Western Cape legislature Galil Brinkhuis. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Al Jama-ah’s sole member of the Western Cape provincial legislature, Galil Brinkhuis, said he would pray for the ANC to win the upcoming elections. He was acting without his party’s mandate and has since apologised.

Al Jama-ah member of the Western Cape legislature, Galil Brinkhuis, who disregarded his party’s opposition to a proposal for an energy Bill – and said he’d pray for an ANC win at the polls – has been rebuked by his party and forced to apologise.

Brinkhuis was speaking during a sitting to consider a report of the Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Opportunities and Tourism on the Upstream Petroleum Resource Development Bill on Tuesday.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Heckling, call to ‘grow up’, drowning out mark heated Bo-Kaap election debate

The Bill seeks to separate petroleum provision from mineral provision, as currently provided for in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act. 

Among the Bill’s aims is the economic transformation of the industry and enhancement of the participation of black people and the state in the industry. It includes provisions that promote petroleum resource development sustainably and equitably. 

It was approved by the National Assembly in October last year and now provinces are debating whether to support the Bill in the National Council of Provinces. 

When it was Brinkhuis’ turn to speak on whether Al Jama-ah supported the Bill, he not only backed it but also threw in a prayer for the ANC to win next week’s general elections.

“We support this Bill of the ANC,” he said during the sitting. “… and we make Duha (prayer), that the ANC, they stay in power nationally. We also pray and make Duha to Allah that the ANC take the lead here in the Western Cape after the elections… and they keep up the good work.”

To listen to a recording, check-in from 16.43 here: Sitting of the House, 21 May 2024, 10:00 

Other parties did not respond to his offer of a prayer for the ANC, but both the DA and EFF said they did not support the Bill. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Al Jama-ah leader and MP, Ganief Hendricks, said Brinkhuis had acted without a mandate by offering prayers for the ANC to win the upcoming elections.

“We appreciate the ANC government’s initiation of the case before the ICJ to stop the genocide in Palestine, and we will continue to support this effort. But that is where our praise ends,” he said. 

“We observe that even though the ANC supports the issuance of an arrest warrant for the Zionist war criminal Benny Netanyahu and others for the genocide of Palestinians, they also endorse the issuing of an arrest warrant for the Hamas freedom fighters…

“It’s like calling for the arrests of ANC, PAC and Azapo resistance fighters during apartheid.” 

Hendricks added that Al Jama-ah has many fundamental policy differences that cannot be reconciled with ANC actions. These include a commitment to addressing and ending corruption, equity for all people, and justice at all levels of state and society. 

The party’s leadership summoned Brinkhuis to explain himself. 

Hendricks said Brinkhuis was told by the party that he had gone too far and that his offer of special prayers for the ANC to win the election was out of line with the party’s interests and beliefs, as the ANC had failed the people of South Africa. 

“We will give Brinkhuis a fair chance to explain himself. As a party, we owe it to our supporters and members to provide clarity on this matter,” he added. 

Brinkhuis has meanwhile apologised for his remarks in the legislature, adding that he was not permitted to speak to the media. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: New ANC leadership in Western Cape struggles to shake off internal challenges that hobble its growth

Al Jama-ah is an ally of the ANC and the party has a mayor in the country’s economic hub, Johannesburg, despite having only three seats in the council. This was made possible through the support of the ANC and EFF. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

The party has said it is open to working with the ANC to oust the DA in the Western Cape should the opportunity arise after the elections. 

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

ANC spokesperson and MPL Khalid Sayed said they respected Al Jama-ah and did not intend to get involved in their internal affairs. 

“What we can make clear is that we have a good working relationship with the party. We have a common goal of ensuring that the DA is removed from power and is replaced with a pro-poor government.” 

Brinkhuis holds the party’s only seat in the provincial legislature and is #11 on Al Jama-ah’s candidate list for the national assembly. He is number two on the provincial list. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024

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  • T'Plana Hath says:

    Imagine living in a world where a man appealing to a higher power is forced to apologise for his prayer because they run contra to someone else’s political aspirations.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Imagine a world where people will destroy their own country for themselves, their families, their friends and indeed all honest citizens because they allow emotion and skewed rhetoric to blind them to the obvious reality displayed in 20 foot high neon letters right in front of their noses.

    • Trenton Carr says:

      That is your take on this? That it was religious, and not what he is paid to say?

    • John P says:

      He could have prayed for his own party or alternatively left Al Jamah and joined the ANC.

    • Bob Dubery says:

      That’s not what happened here. He defied the whip. Any MP, councillor, MPC who defies the whip is likely to end up on the naughty step.

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      Imagine a world where ‘thoughts and prayers’ were worth any more than the oxygen expelled by the person offering them….

  • John Smythe says:

    Al who?

    • Samuel Ginsberg says:

      Al 1%.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Cursory googling: Current Muslim population represent between 1.5 – 1.7% of the total SA population. In the Western Cape the number of Muslims in relation to the provincial population is the highest, at 6.6%. So, not quite 1% Samuel, but no need for knickers in knots … yet

        • Pieter Badenhorst says:

          The way I understand it, not all Muslims support Al Jamah, so 1% is probably the right ratio of political support.

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            Al Jamah currently have 1/400 seats in the National Assembly, 1/42 in Western Cape Provincial Assembly and 3/231 in City of Cape Town Council. “The ANC can count on us” Ganief Hendricks, Al Jamah’s leader and sole member of Parliament, recently told reporters. (1% is being very generous I’d have thought)

  • Hi curios to read why he was rebuked for praying.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Religion and Politics – a deadly combination in most parts of the world!

  • Johan Buys says:

    The prayer makes sense coming from him. Remember, former prisoner Zuma said the ANC would rule until the Second Coming 😉

  • John Lewis says:

    Keep your imaginary sky wizards out of the legislature and speak to them in your mosque, if you must!

    • William Dryden says:

      I agree with you John.

    • T'Plana Hath says:

      John, with respect, you are aware that our national anthem is 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 a prayer (a hymn) to one of them sky wizards, yes?

      • David C says:

        And how is that working out, do you think? Perhaps less magic wishes and more intelligence might deliver better outcomes.

        • T'Plana Hath says:

          I’m going to hazard that all of us in this here thread ‘park in the same garage’ as far as religion is concerned. That being said, it currently amuses me that Roman-Dutch law is a big problem (because it is ‘alien’), but Roman-Catholicism is not. Quite frankly, I have an easier time believing in aliens than I do in deities but that’s beside the point.
          Recall Desmond Tutu: “When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible, and we had the land. They said, “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible, and they had the land.”

    • Les Thorpe says:

      Likewise agree. A valid observation.

    • Peter Oosthuizen says:

      That comment should apply to all mythical deities of whatever religion.

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    Full of hate and lacking in compassion

  • Rae Earl says:

    I think it was Al Jama-ah party leader Ganief Hendriks who, on Stephen Grootes’s morning SAFM program some time ago, espoused the viewpoint that basically, women should stay at home, have children, and look after the family as opposed to being treated equally with men in the workplace. When Grootes pointed out the the SA Constitution regards men and women as equals, Hedriks yelled “To hell with the Constitution”! This about spells out what that party sands for. One only has to Google Sharia law to ascertain what Muslim women are subject to by their menfolk.

    • Bob Dubery says:

      Al Jama-ah are not the only party who disrespect the Constitution as the supreme law of South Africa. The ACDP do not. Gayton McKenzie wants it suspended. Herman Mashaba is not particularly keen on it nor on proper judicial procedure. MK want the Constitution revoked and Parliament to have supremacy, thus tearing down the wall that separates the powers, influence and responsibilities of legislature, executive and judiciary.

      The give away is that the party appeals to “traditional values” or “family values” or described themselves as “patriots”.

  • Con Tester says:

    Any political party that espouses as one of its core tenets a belief in an amorphous fairytale character that supposedly directs human affairs, is a palpable threat to a peaceable community because it expects that everyone must also believe the same absurd thing.

    • Troy Marshall says:

      I hear you, politics and religion should be kept apart.
      Education and religion should be kept apart as well. I believe children should go to school, learn what is real, learn what can be proven.
      If parents want to talk to kids about religion at home; take the kids to church on Sunday; well, that is their right.

  • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

    To even dignify this with column space …

  • Bob Kuhn says:

    Beware the rise of radical islam in our country as the rest of the world panders to this cult!

  • Calling someone out based solely on expressing a desire for another party to win an election, even if they belong to an opposition party, is a strong and subjective label. In democratic societies, individuals are entitled to express their political opinions and preferences freely, including their hopes for election outcomes. Such statements, while they may contrast with the individual’s party affiliation, do not necessarily equate to betrayal or disloyalty. Political diversity and open discourse are fundamental aspects of democratic systems, and expressing support for another party does not inherently undermine one’s allegiance to their own party. Instead of immediately labelling that person, it may be more productive to engage in constructive dialogue to understand their perspective and reasoning behind their statements.

    • Con Tester says:

      The little detail you seem to be overlooking is that in SA, we vote for a party, not an individual even though certain individuals’ faces are used as most parties’ primary identity. Each party has its manifesto and messaging by which it seeks to attract voters. When a party member says or does something that doesn’t align properly with that party’s ethos then the party’s leadership is perfectly entitled to call that member to order, otherwise it risks putting out inconsistent messages that may lose it support. If instead we voted for individuals *and* Galil Brinkhuis was the one appearing on the ballot papers, only then would it be improper to call him out for his opinions.

  • Bob Dubery says:

    Expressing support for another party is not clever. We might think it’s one democratic right to have and voice an opinion about a party, but the game changes when you get elected. Say (unlikely example) I stand on a DA platform and get elected. I can’t now say that I would like the PA, or Action SA, or anybody else, actually, to win, because if I want them to win, what am I doing representing the DA? What about the people who voted for me because I represent that party?

    I might support another party or a member of another party on a point of principle, but expressing a wish that that party do better than my own is something else entirely.

  • Ron Baatjes says:

    This is actually being debated?Sail on,Titanic.

  • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

    Does anyone remember “Not the 9 O’clock News” (British comedy series, late 70’s, early 80’s, first glimpses of Rowan Atkinson)? Reminds me of a skit they did mocking apartheid South Africa at the time. Visualize a church in rural SA, a black lady on her knees and the Dominee comes in, scowling, and says to the lady harshly – “Hey what are doing?”. She says “Just cleaning baas”. He says “O00h … okay … but don’t let me catch you praying hey!”.

    This episode is as ridiculous. Imagine telling someone they must retract what they are praying for (as if you can control a person’s prayers). Hahaha

  • Gavin Hillyard says:

    I find it incredible that there are people that would prefer the ANC to rule in the Cape given their abysmal record of 30 years of failure, incompetence, cadre deployment, theft, fraud and nepotism, to a proven record of progress and success of DA rule. The so-called popcorn parties are cult personalities seemingly more interested in the perks of the job than getting stuck in to prevent the Titanic from hitting the iceberg.

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