Today, the controversial Knysna Mosque project took another step towards realisation. Credit to the persistence of the Muslim community as they fought unrealistic, public opinion. Although i have, in the macrocosm, strong views about religion as division and, in the microcosm, agreed with certain complaints such as that against broadcasting, i never signed the petition that did the rounds as it was never bothered to conceal distasteful discrimination.
In our society, protected by the Bill of Rights, all must be allowed to practice their faith. “Section 15 states that everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion. Section 31 protects the right of persons belonging to a religious community to practise their religion together with other members of that community, and to form, join and maintain voluntary religious associations.” *
Our democracy is not altered according to what we like or don’t like. We have to fight for everyone’s rights so that ours are protected too. In South Africa, where our Constitution is under greedy, corrupt, political attack, we have have to do so even harder.
This morning, the Mayoral Committee approved the S80 Planning, Infrastructure and Development Committee’s recommendations for the following conditions and departures from the Land Use Planning Ordinance:
- The lateral and rear building lines will be relaxed from 6m to 1.5m.
- Coverage (building versus empty land) relaxed from 60 to 61%.
- Solar assisted or gas assisted water heating devices or heat pumps shall be installed by the applicant
- The amplified broadcasting of prayers or any other form of external broadcasting shall be prohibited.
- A minimum of 8 parking bays must be provided on the premises.
- The height of 17m in respect of the minarets and the height of 14m in terms of the dome shall be adhered to.
- The habitable portion of the building shall not exceed 10m.
The Mayoral Committee now sends their recommendation to the next Ordinary Council Meeting for approval. The final stage will require the building plans to be passed. In the near future, in between a laundromat and a bar, prayers and worship could begin.