17 August 2022

When the Muslim Youth Movement (MYM) sowed the seeds for an equitable Zakah project in 1974, its vision and dream has come true, writes an Al Qalam Reporter

In the face of crippling poverty, the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF) this week joyously announced an increase in its collections for the year under review of R137 million – of which R98.3 million comprised of Zakah income.

“Such an increase, amidst tough economic conditions, is reflective of the heightened awareness of the plight of the poor and the importance of paying Zakah”,Shauket Fakie – SANZAF’s outgoing National Chairperson told Al Qalam in a statement.

“We are immensely appreciative of our donors, partners and volunteers whose support allowed SANZAF to forge ahead with our purposeful and structured projects and programmes aimed at providing the enablers better the future for those battling the challenges of poverty every day”, said Fakie.

The powerful Muslim humanitarian body was the creation of the Muslim Youth Movement (MYM) in 1974 and Durban community leader and businessman, Ebrahim Jadwat – who was the MYM’s 2nd President at the time – sat on the important executive meeting that formed SANZAF.

In an interview, Jadwat told Al Qalam that he fondly remembers the visionary words of the late Dr Shauket Thokan – the founder of SANZAF – when he said: “We should turn the open hand of receiving into one of giving”.

Jadwat said he was overjoyed that the objectives of Dr Thokan – and the genuinely credible organisation it has turned out to be – has been realised.

“The seed that was planted in the 70’s has now mushroomed into a giant institution that the Ummah should be proud of,” he added.

But Jadwat said the road was long and rough. When SANZAF first started off, it was harshly opposed by some Islamic scholars of the time who labelled them as “Murtad”. They felt “we were not the right people to receive and distribute Zakaah, and they also felt that in our hands, the monies collected would lead to mismanagement and abuse – they were so wrong because SANZAF has become a trusted body where every cent is accounted for. It is a caring body that has brought hope and enhanced the lives of millions of poor and the desperate,” he said.

Jadwat said SANZAF was one of the few organisations that publishes its Annual Financial Statements. He blasted those organisations that refuse to be transparent in the usage of public funds.

There are still many organisations in South Africa that collect vast amounts from the community, but shamelessly do not provide their Anuual Financial Statements for public scrutiny. It is high time, the community stops giving money to organisations that are not transparent with our money.” he added.

He said it was a sad fact that those that are NOT transparent with public money, use much of the public funds to blatantly pay themselves hefty salaries, with only small portions going to the people it was intended for – the poor.

Meanwhile, in its statement, SANZAF has proudly reached its 45th year milestone, marked by an encouraging increase in the distribution and expended of total funds collected, from 98% in the previous year to 104%. “With over 30.4 million South Africans living in poverty, this increased distribution is significantly impactful, given the enormity of the task at hand.”

A noteworthy R24 million was disbursed with SANZAF’s Education, Empowerment and Development (SEED) Programme ranging from bursaries for tertiary education to youth development projects.

“This past year, SANZAF sadly noted the passing of three stalwarts, Dr Shauket Thokan, Abdool Carrim Gani and Shaykh Yusuf da Costa. These committed members served the organisation with a clarity of purpose that continues to inform our mission and strategic objectives. Such clarity enabled the smooth transition to new leadership as Fayruz Mohamed took the reins as the National Chairperson and Yasmina Francke as the Chief Executive Officer”.

“As we look to 2020 and beyond, we remain focussed on our mandate of upholding the 4th pillar of Islam and continue in our endeavours to exercise the highest level of governance in fulfilling the amaanah entrusted to us. Our focus on operational proficiency will ensure that we continue to effectively serve the community with dignity and compassion”, says Fayruz Mohamed, the new National Chairperson.

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