Cape Town 01.06.2007 Ganief Hendricks,a resident of Pinelands,hopes to start his own muslim party named Al Jama-ah .Pics Enver Essop Story Melanie Peters

Cape Town - Two Cape Muslim parties have joined forces to campaign for the May 7 polls under one banner to avoid splitting the Muslim vote in the province.

Al Jama-ah Community Party and the Africa Muslim Party announced that they would campaign together under the banner of Al Jama-ah Community Party, after some Muslim voters complained about not knowing which party to vote for.

Al Jama-ah Community Party leader Ganief Hendricks on Monday confirmed that the party would be the only Muslim party to contest the elections in the Western Cape.

The Africa Muslim Party’s Western Cape leader, Wasfie Hassiem, will take the number one slot on the Al Jama-ah Community Party list in the province.

“Both parties will remain independent for now, but will campaign the national and provincial elections jointly under the Al Jama-ah,” Hendricks said.

On Monday, he registered the party with the IEC to contest the provincial elections, adding that it was still to be decided which other provinces Al Jama-ah would contest.

Hendricks said the Muslim vote in the City of Cape Town represented a strong constituency, estimated at about 29 percent of the population.

“Muslims have been voting for the NP and the DA, now we want them to vote for a united Muslim party,” he said.

Both parties were confident their joint campaign would see them get three seats in the provincial parliament, he said.

He predicted that Al-Jama-ah might end up being a kingmaker in the legislature, although he warned that there would be no “deals being made with the DA”.

“Although Muslims make up 29 percent of the population, there is not a single Muslim on the DA’s Western Cape party lists, but they have many members linked to the Jewish Board of Deputies.”

Hendricks said despite the party’s initial focus on Muslim interests, it had transformed itself into a community party that sought to be a “voice for all communities”.

Al Jama-ah Community Party’s election manifesto will focus primarily on:

* Offering a realistic alternative to corrupt political parties.

* Making consumer issues such as food, electricity, fuel, bank and cellphone cost a priority.

* Housing, sanitation and safe environments for communities.

* Advancing the interests of the indigenous Khoisan, slave and Creole descendants in South Africa.

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Cape Argus