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Ebrahim Moosa - Radio Islam | 05 August 2016

One of the major victors of Wednesday’s local government polls, DA leader Mmusi Maimane, has tried to reassure some wary Muslims that they have no need to fear the apparatus of a DA-led government.

Speaking to Radio Islam as election results trickled in to the IEC results centre on Thursday, a buoyant Maimane responded coolly to questions about the DA’s stance on the Palestinian quest for freedom, and alleged DA opposition to the construction of mosques in certain suburbs.

Referencing the heated opposition from some to the building of mosque in Valhalla, Pretoria, Maimane said it was “grossly inaccurate” to suggest that the DA councillor in the area was opposed to the construction of the place of worship.

“Councillors exist to represent their communities. They [simply] make the submissions,” the opposition leader said.

Maimane claimed that it was the MMC in Tshwane that made representations on behalf of the community, and then attributed it falsely to the stance of the DA.

“It is not true. We never opposed it…That mosque is going ahead. So we must not make the error of believing that we are trying to block a mosque”.

Regarding possible sources of DA party funding and linkages that had previously been made between the party and a prominent Zionist businessman, the DA leader emphatically declared that these were “born without fact”.

“I do nearly 90% of the fundraising for the DA, I have never gone to a funder and said ‘what faith are you, and what is your agenda’. Never! There can be no funder of the DA who will go out to purchase influence – it can’t be. We separate that very issue as a starting point.

“I will state this categorically for our Muslim South Africans, that I don’t have an agenda that is linked to any lobby group, designed for partisan relations in the Middle East”.

DA policy on Palestine, Maimane said, was dictated by parliament, and called for a two-state solution to the conflict.

“I think if Jacob Zuma was sitting here, he’d tell you exactly the same thing,”he claimed.

Pointing to outspoken DA youth leader Yusuf Cassim, he said DA members were free to participate in Palestinian solidarity activities, and would not be disciplined for the personal views they espoused on the matter.

“We are a party for all South Africans,” Maimane concluded.

“For Muslim South Africans, I can give them the assurance – we govern in Cape Town, and we’ve shown the fact that we co-operate with multiple faiths, multiple communities, because we exist, not for a particular faith, but for all”.

In an advertorial published in the South African Jewish Report on the eve of the 2014 national elections, the pro-Israel South African Zionist Federation(SAZF) hailed the Democratic Alliance as a friend of Israel, scoring the party at 7/10 for its stance towards Israel.

Among the factors that afforded it such a high rating, the SAZF said, was the attendance of Israeli ‘Independence Day’ celebrations by DA officials, and the opposition offered by party youth structures to “anti-Israel” actions at universities.

In an interview with Radio Islam aired on Wednesday, Tshwane based social cohesion activist Yusuf Abramjee said the DA in the Valhalla suburb initially opposed the construction of a mosque in the area, but thereafter opted to endorse the development.

In a separate interview, chairperson of the Al-Jama-ah party, Abdur Razaq Noorbhai also told Radio Islam this week that there was a “trend” of DA councillors across formerly white suburbs of Johannesburg opposing rezoning applications for land earmarked for the construction of Masaajid.

Several of these developments, he claimed, had, as a result, been lying dormant for years, prompting his party to lobby for high level intervention.