Durban Indian voters turn their backs in droves on Rajbansi’s legacy

2014-05-10 00:00

THEY didn’t “Do it for The Raj” in the end.

Chatsworth voters turned their backs in droves on Minority Front leader Shameen Rajbansi’s election poster plea for voters to continue to support her late husband Amichand Rajbansi’s party.

The exodus, voters said, was down to Shameen Rajbansi’s lack of leadership, alleged nepotism and an inability to deal with “bread-and-butter issues” — all the factors that had previously convinced them to vote for the party founder.

Indian voters in KwaZulu-Natal flocked to the Democratic Alliance this election, a key factor in the party obtaining official opposition status for the first time.

“When Mr Rajbansi passed on, his party died with him. His wife, who has been focusing on her pharmacy all the time, suddenly showed interest and assumed the leadership position. She treats the party as a family asset,” charged Muno Naidoo.

He had worked with Rajbansi in the formation of the party and after the 2009 elections had decided to leave.

“The party served the Indian community and nobody can claim to have been ignored by Rajbansi in times of need. After his death, people were ignored. We are now giving the DA a chance because we have seen it speaking out against corruption, nepotism and maladministration in government,” he said.

Shameen Rajbansi rubbished these allegations, saying that DA propaganda had been aimed at discrediting her leadership style.

She continued to stand defiantly.

“The DA has failed dismally in this election to wipe the MF off the political map. They have taken our members, and they have caused strife in our party. Despite the loss, we still have the steam to fight on,” she said.

The MF had lost four councillors (two from Chatsworth and two from Phoenix) to the DA prior to the elections.

But numerous people Weekend Witness spoke to echoed Naidoo’s sentiments.

Mogambal Govender said she has observed other parties and the DA appealed due to its stand against corruption.

Kay Pillay, a teacher in the area, said, “Rajbansi cared about the bread-and-butter issues more than macro politics. His death was the demise of the MF.”

Devaraj Rama Pillay, one of the councillors who defected to the DA, said there was nothing left in the MF after Rajbansi’s death.

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