By Al Qalam Reporter
The South African National Zakah Fund SANZAF in conjunction with the Muslim Judicial Council this week launched the Ta’awun Imamat Programme (Imam Assistance Programme) that aims to ensure that imams in the Western Cape earn a living wage aligned with their qualifications and experience.
Similar projects exist in the parts of the country.
Imams are said to be “the most underpaid profession in the Muslim community and like everybody else have household expenses,” an MJC spokesperson said.
MJC President, Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams said the Ta’awun Imamat Programme aims to determine a benchmark for the salaries of Imams in South Africa.
“Many full-time Imams, especially those in the underprivileged areas, must be fairly remunerated and receive basic benefits that include a standard employment contract, basic medical aid and contribute to the unemployment fund and a retirement fund.”
Three Imams and their committees have been chosen to pilot this project and will be paid a salary from the Imam Assistance Fund account. This account is managed by SANZAF, who produce annual audited statements.
SANZAF Western Cape Regional Manager, Shafiek Barendse said: “The Imamat Ta’awun Programme will not only financially stabilise Imams but also go a long way in benefitting the communities as the Imam can focus completely on his commitment to serving and assisting the set community,” said
“We urge the community and business owners to contribute to this worthy project as we believe the benefits of this programme are significant as we aim for a long-term sustainable initiative,” he added.