South Africa: Al Jama-Ah's Long Walk to Parliament


The 2019 elections threw up some surprises, including small parties raking in more votes than in previous polls. Three parties will be going to Parliament for the first time, among them Ganief Hendricks' Al Jama-ah Party.

A party that has been around for 12 years, the Al Jama-ah party, finally managed to score enough votes for a seat in Parliament. The party had nine ward councillors in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng. Now, the party's leader and founder, Ganief Hendricks, will be taking the single parliamentary seat the party won.

Hendricks says he started Al Jama-ah, which means ubuntu in kiSwahili, because the Muslim population was often ignored in politics.

"Muslims don't have a voice. Our marriages are not recognised, our children, when they're born, are illegitimate and when you die your death certificate says 'never married'," said Hendricks.

Hendricks felt let down that even though there were Muslim lawmakers in Parliament, they did not prioritise Muslim people's rights.

"They tow the party line, they didn't want to be seen to be pushing the Muslim agenda. We're talking about personal law rights, we're not talking about the other big stuff, like the Sharia which is the criminal law of...

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