SANZAF CEO represents SA at World Zakah Forum in Malaysia

By Nazeer Vadia

Yasmina Francke, The Chief Executive Officer of the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF) represented South Africa at the World Zakah Forum in Malaysia recently that was attended by 31 representatives from 16 countries.

The World Zakah Forum was established as a platform to formulate effective solutions to the multi-faceted issues facing the Islamic World such as effective collection and distribution of Zakah, socio-economic development in Muslim communities and the empowering of the Ummah around the world.

 The forum hosted its first international conference in Indonesia in 2010 and has since been a powerful tool in uniting scholars, activists, researchers and organisations such as SANZAF from all around the world to promote, discuss and develop global Zakah practices.

In December the World Zakah Forum hosted their latest International Conference in Melaka, Malaysia with the theme of “Strengthening Global Zakat Cooperation in Increasing the Welfare of the Ummah”. The conference was attended by notable Malaysian ministers including Malaysia’s Religion Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa and hosted 300 attendees including 31 speakers from 16 countries, including England, Nigeria and India. SANZAF was represented by Francke, and was one of the top speakers on the world stage.

In addition to discussing the practices and environment that the South African National Zakah Fund operates in, Francke presented on how Zakah can be aligned to achieve some of the sustainable goals set by the United Nations. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by the year 2030. There are 17 goals which are interconnected and include poverty, hunger, good health, education and gender equality to list the first five. She genuinely believed that the outcomes of impactful Zakah distribution should be in line with achieving these goals amongst the Ummah.

Francke also spoke on the need of a revival of Zakah in the Islamic world, this, in addition with effective and efficient collection and distribution of set Zakah, could viably and wholly eradicate poverty amongst the Muslim Ummah.

“Zakah has the ability to mold individuals into responsible and caring persons. It inculcates the spirit of goodwill, cooperation and brotherhood in upholding social solidarity in the society. It is powerful in developing the social life and moral values of Muslim society. However, there are signs that this pillar is not being upheld the way it should be”, said Francke. She added, “Many speakers at the conference concurred that there is a need for the revival of Zakah which entails amongst others, a change in mind-set and approach to wealth.  The revival of Zakah requires the entire Muslim world to embrace it as a means to achieving peace and prosperity though the social justice it brings about”.

This opportunity also allowed her to not only gain an international perspective and insight into the Zakah management practices and principles which she brought home but also gauge SANZAF on a world platform in respect of how the organisation’s approach, methodologies and even challenges compares to international best practices.

A SANZF spokesperson said: “This memorable occasion was testament to SANZAF’s commitment to leading the way in efficient, relevant and effective Zakah collection and distribution. As one of the biggest Zakah agencies in the country, we will always work tirelessly to ensure the Zakah you have entrusted us with is used to change lives. We look forward to a fruitful 2019 where with your support and the grace of the Almighty we look to make even more of an impact in serving humanity and continue to Give HOPE,”

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