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Category: Opinion and Analysis

Radio Islam International partnered with Jamiatul Ulama South Africa and South African Muslim Network to invite the top five political parties in South Africa to engage with the general public on 8th April in Durban. The panel discussion was broadcast live by Radio Islam. 

This article will identify some of the issues that were raised by the moderator of the panel, Mawlana Sulaiman Rawat, and the responses of the panellists. I will omit the questions that were posed to the panel by the moderator and the audience and mention their responses only.

The ANC was represented by John Jefferies, the DA by Imran Keeka, the IFP by Mkhuleko Hlengwa, the EFF by Vusi Khoza and the NFP by Happy Khuzwayo.

John Jefferies admitted that the ANC had made mistakes. However, at the same time, the ANC has made tremendous strides:

Imran Keeka claimed that the DA is the only party that can bring about change: 

Vusi Khoza of the EFF said that people have continued to suffer under the ANC. His party was based on the following seven principles: 

The EFF is convinced that the majority of Indians are racists. Judge Zac Yacoob had endorsed this claim and Julius Malema was simply echoing workers’ views:

Mkhuleko Hlengwa of the IFP said that under the ANC the country has reached junk status and under both the ANC and DA there were service delivery problems.  The IFP has established agricultural projects, provided running water and electricity. It compelled the MEC for Health to roll out ARVs when the ANL led government was in denial. Hlengwa promised that his party will:

The reason why Buthelezi has been party head for so long – despite the fact that he offered to step down - is that the party structures wanted him to remain. This is not against the constitution. However, he will be stepping down in July.

Happy Khuzwayo of the NFP admitted that there were internal conflicts and defections from the party, but said that this is normal – other parties also have conflicts and defectors. Despite this, the party is stable. It is open to form an alliance with other parties. She declared that her party:

The debate was lively and Mawlana Rawat handled it extremely well. The representatives basically spelt out their party’s position on the issues that were raised and refused to be drawn into giving their own opinions.

What was most disappointing was the poor turnout of Muslims at the event. Despite the fact that the organisers and the Radio station covering the event were Muslim, there were no more than a half dozen Muslims in the audience. Apparently, Lenasia had the same experience.

This begs the question: Why are Muslims reluctant to attend meetings where they can educate themselves about various parties’ policies and principles, ask questions on issues which are of concern to them all of which could influence their decisions on election day?


Prof. Suleman Dangor