MF: ‘If the DA wants to keep our baggage they can’

2014-04-09 00:00

THE Minority Front says the Democratic Alliance has done it a favour by turning itself into a spaza shop when it poached three under-performing councillors who wanted to have it their own way in their former party.

Party leader Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi told The Witness that the DA should keep the councillors and accused the DA of being instrumental in creating divisions in her party.

“If the DA wants to keep our baggage it can. They are welcome to keep the deadwood. The DA must tell the public what it has taken from Minority Front,” Thakur-Rajbansi said.

“If any party wants them, let the DA be a spaza shop. I’m not a spaza shop,” said Thakur-Rajbansi, speaking for the first time following DA leader Helen Zille’s announcement on Saturday that former MF councillors Bradley Singh, Ronnie Pillay and Lyndal Singh along with 150 party members had joined the Democratic Alliance.

Contacted yesterday, Zille said she would not comment on the statements made by Thakur-Rajbansi.

“I don’t have any comment,” she said. “I don’t agree with her. No other party can cause conflict in another party, but I am not going to comment in the media,” Zille said.

But Thakur-Rajbansi said the defectors were people who were undisciplined. “They don’t want to be accountable and transparent,” she said.

“They did not even want to sign the party’s code of conduct and I don’t know if they signed the DA code of conduct, which is worse than ours.”

The defections from the MF came just a few months after party divisions saw members going to court over leadership disputes that began soon after the death of its founding leader, Amichand Rajbansi, in 2011.

However, an out-of-court settlement was reached in December and it appeared matters had been resolved.

Before the latest defections, an MF councillor who resigned from his Phoenix ward last year had his seat grabbed by the DA. In recent weeks there have also been reports that some councillors were allegedly too ill to participate in the election campaign.

Thakur-Rajbansi described her party as having been like a “fragile cake” after Rajbansi’s death, with other parties, including the DA, wanting to have a piece of it while she held it together.

“It was a difficult job because it could have fallen apart anyway because everyone wanted pieces and tried to create divisions in the party,” she said.

She was adamant that efforts to break up the party had all failed to destroy the Minority Front and was adamant that the defection by the three councillors was no loss to the MF.

She charged that the DA had provided a political home for the councillors at a time when they were facing a disciplinary hearing for not carrying out party work and failing to declare their interests, among other things.

Thakur-Rajbansi said that the prevailing unity in the party was a challenge to the DA who had encouraged the misbehaviour of the councillors.

She said the party had spent a lot of its time during the pre-election campaign allaying fears among its supporters that had been stirred up by the opposition, both the DA and ANC, which are campaigning for the Indian vote.

But Thakur-Rajbansi said the Minority Front had fought back to dispel these fears through an aggressive media campaign.


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