Local elections 2016. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Durban – The moment an Indian sees instability, they will run like they are running from the black plague, a Minority Front senior official said on Thursday.
“When they saw there was some sense of instability from the party because of people who could not contain their greed and desire for leadership position, the Indian voter just wanted to distance himself,” MF national executive member Jonathan Annipen told News24.
Annipen was speaking about the decline of the party, that previously took large chunks of the Indian vote in KwaZulu-Natal. Annipen said the party had not won any wards in 2016 and was now contesting proportional representation seats.
Annipen attributed the party’s decline over the years to “internal squabbles” after the death of its founder and leader Amichand Rajbansi in December 2011.
“That finally impacted on the way voters think.”
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Following Rajbansi’s death, the MF was drawn into a dispute between one of its MPs, Roy Bhoola, and its current leader and Rajbansi’s wife, Shameem Thakur-Rajbansi, over who should take over the reins.
One faction - led by Bhoola - held its own conference in November 2012, where it declared him leader. Those supporting Thakur-Rajbansi claimed the conference infringed the party’s constitution and that Rajbansi’s widow remained the legitimate leader.
This sparked a two-year-long legal battle that resulted in both parties reaching an out-of-court settlement. Thakur-Rajbansi retained the party’s leadership.
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Annipen maintained that party loyalists still supported her.
“I think he [Amichand] had done enough to train Mrs Rajbansi. She sat with him at the provincial legislature since 1999 and a lot of the party’s policies were developed by Mrs Rajbansi. When she joined the party, we expanded.”
However, members within party structures wanted to "do their own thing" and not be accountable to the party and voters.
"We could not tolerate that,” he said.
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