Ex- Al-Jazeera Bureau chief competes in Johannesburg by-elections
By Hassan Isilow
The Al Jama-ah party will be competing with five other political parties in a by-election on Wednesday for a council seat in Ward 58, Johannesburg. Analysts believe Al Jama-ah will most likely defeat the other political parties because the by-elections are being held in a predominately Muslim area. “Although the DA won the elections here last time, there are indications that Al-Jama-ah is likely to take this seat,” local commentator and Ward 58 resident, Mohammed Yusuf, told Africa Witness on Sunday.
The seat for Ward 58 fell vacant in the Johannesburg city council after the former Ward Councillor, Zaytoon Waja of the DA, resigned from her position. “We are asked, if Al Jama-ah’s political ideology is being distributed explicitly along religious sectarian lines that might perhaps override other faith based groups,” chairperson for Al-Jama-ah in Gauteng, Councillor Abdul Razak Noorbhai said, adding that his party was by the Muslims for all the people and does not have discriminatory profiling.
Noorbhai said people should read Al-Jama-ah’s policies in order to understand how the party functions.
Ebrahim Carrim Sarang is Al Jamah’s candidate who will face still competition from the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance in the by-election. The ANC’s Muhammed Cajee , a former acting Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera in the United states is regarded as a major contender.
Cajee, a former SRC president at the Witwaters Rand University, recently received backing from prominent business people, professionals and the youth in the ward. He told a local radio station in Johannesburg that his move to campaign for ward councillor was in accordance with his Islamic beliefs because the best service to Allah was the service of fellow men. Cajee has also set up a vibrant Twitter campaign account where he interacts with his followers.
Meanwhile the DA candidate, Uthman Cassim, is also another strong contender in the by-elections. Analysts believe he will get votes because of the projects which were initiated by the former DA Ward Councillor, Zaytoon Waja. The other political parties contesting in the by-elections include COPE, NFP and SAPOC.
This article was first published by Voice of the Cape. All rights reserved.