Launch of corporate governance code for Muslim NPO’s breaks new ground in South Africa

Al Qalam Correspondent

A ground-breaking Corporate Governance Code for Muslim NPOs was officially launched during a webinar held last week.

Jointly sponsored by the Association of Muslim Accountants and Lawyers (AMAL), AWQAF SA, the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF) and the United Ulema Council of South Africa (UUCSA), the aim was to launch a code that would enhance and empower local NPOs in terms of effective governance principles.

With representatives of the sponsors and experts in governance contributing to a lively panel discussion, Corporate Governance was defined in the Code as “the exercise of ethical and effective leadership by a governing body towards the achievement of an ethical culture, good performance, effective control and legitimacy”.

According to Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, CEO of AWQAF SA, lead organizer and sponsor of the code, the objective is to promote effective governance in Islamic NPO’s. This is to ensure that our organisations be run in an exemplary fashion in accordance with the Shari’ah, the tenets of Sacred Law, and in compliance with the laws of the land.

The webinar suggested that the code be applicable to all Islamic NPO’s, but that it should be voluntary, and not mandatory.

This was because the practices recommended in the code might not be suitable, or an appropriate fit, for all organisations. Practices had to be adapted and scaled in accordance with the size, complexity and legal environment within which the organisation operated, as well as the organisation’s impact on society and the environment.

However, NPO’s should aspire to align their constitutions with the governance principles and practices described in the code.

The panel said that the benefits that would be derived from implementing good governance practices in an NPO would include the satisfaction of their Creator, added credibility, an enhanced reputation and more trusting stakeholders.

Other positive bonuses would be improved performance, effective service delivery and the achievement of set objectives. This would lead to an easier access for funding and grants, and would see loans granted on better terms. The win-win would be a far more ethical and accountable culture.

Suleman Badat, coordinator and champion of the Corporate Governance Code, said that the key aspects of successful governance was ethical and effective leadership – and that the over-riding principle of the right leadership doing the right thing in the right way, applied not only to Muslim NPO’s, but to all organisations.

The Corporate Governance Code may be downloaded from the Awqaf SA website at: https://awqafsa.org.za/corporategovernance/

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