Court upholds MJC election in setback for Abrahams

The report has recommended that the MJC president Sheikh Irfaan Abrahams be investigated for ‘fitness to hold office’. Picture: MJC/Website

The report has recommended that the MJC president Sheikh Irfaan Abrahams be investigated for ‘fitness to hold office’. Picture: MJC/Website

Published Feb 26, 2024


The Western Cape High Court has dismissed with costs Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams’s bid to set aside the election of the Muslim Judicial Council’s (MJC) new president and council.

Abrahams was suspended last year as president amid an investigation into alleged financial irregularities and a new executive council with Sheikh Riyaad Fataar appointed in the position last month.

A legal battle ensued and Abrahams approached the court claiming that the election of Fataar was in contempt of a September 2023 order, and there was no disciplinary enquiry.

He also claimed that he did not resign from the president’s position but was only suspended.

However, the MJC said that they had entered into an oral agreement with Abrahams and the terms included a payment of R350 000, that he would resign as president as well as all other positions he held at the MJC. He would remain as a member of the MJC general Majilis and the case would be withdrawn.

“One issue raised... relating to the dispute about the oral agreement, particularly the alleged condition or proviso thereto, is to the fact that the MJC alleges that it, in pursuance of the oral settlement agreement, made four payments to the applicant which were accepted by him, the import of this being that the applicant (Abrahams), in fact, accepted that a binding settlement had been reached,” court papers read. However, Abrahams stated that these payments were salary payments, which were demanded by his former attorney in a letter in October 2023.

“The fact that those amounts coin acided exactly with the applicant’s salary does tend to support his case but, on the other hand, this is counterweighed by the references in the schedule and the bank statements.

Ultimately, this evidence does not support (Abrahams) strongly enough to overcome the hurdle of the “Plascon-Evans rule,” court documents read.

The judgment noted that in MJC’s case, the alleged oral agreement meant that all disputes between the parties were effectively settled and that none of the provisions of the order needed to be complied with any longer.

“At the very least, they say, they genuinely believed that the whole case had been settled by oral agreement, and that their conduct was not mala fide or wilful.”

The court found that Abrahams was faced with the further hurdle that his case must be proved beyond reasonable doubt and on a conspectus of all of the evidence, the MJC established at least reasonable doubt as to whether non-compliance with the order amounted to contempt of court.

Cape Times