The Post / 15 March 2019, 11:02am / Chanelle Lutchman
Durban - THE sale of land for a proposed mosque in Ballito has been met with mixed reaction.
For years, Muslim residents from Ballito have been travelling to Tongaat, Stanger and Shakaskraal for daily prayers.
On Thursday, during a council meeting, the issue of the mosque was raised.
The Zululand Islamic Society, a religious organisation that has built over 30 mosques in the country, requested 4 000m2 of a 15 259m2 open space to build a mosque.
The council put forth a resolution to sell the space in Townsend Park for R3.6 million to the society.
The space allocated would be next to the Ballito Lions Scouts Hall and opposite a Catholic Church.
However, it emerged that DA ward six councillor Tammy Colley allegedly opposed the motion.
The IFP’s Moosa Motala, who was present during the sitting, said Colley had said, “she doesn’t support the resolution”.
Motala said for a while council had been looking to accommodate the Muslim community and when they “finally” found the appropriate land, Colley allegedly opposed it.
“People have been asking for years for a mosque here because this is their home.
“The fuel price is too high to travel. Some shop owners just close their doors, pull out their mats and conduct their prayers in a back room because there is no alternative.
“I don’t see why a place of worship should not be built here.
“Even if members of the Hindu community requested for a temple to be built, I wouldn’t stand against it because it’s a place of worship.”
Colley said the party instead stressed the importance of public participation in terms of national and local laws when dealing with the disposal of public assets.
“The fact that other political parties, including the KwaDukuza Council spokesperson, chose to lie to the public about the matter to suit their agenda on a matter as sensitive as religious worship, speaks volumes about their integrity and their desire to sow division.”
Colley said while she understood there was changing demographics in suburbs like Ballito, they must be catered for, but in an open and inclusive manner.
Issa Khowane, from the society, said they could not comment on the matter as the application was going through the proper channels.
He did, however, say the organisation launched the application in 2017.
“Currently, there is no mosque in Ballito. Any local Muslim, shopper, business person, worker or holidaymaker, has to go to Stanger, Tongaat at or Shakaskraal to attend prayers and we have five daily prayers to conduct.
“The year we launched the application, we found over 200 Muslims had been Ballito residents, but now the figure could have doubled or tripled, so there is certainly a need for a mosque here.”