Rajbansi was courageous - Ndebele
Johannesburg - Minority Front leader Amichand Rajbansi, who died this week, showed courage during the transition to a democratic South Africa, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said at his funeral in Chatsworth on Saturday.
"Many would agree with me when I say that this was a courageous man of exceptional talents," said Ndebele in a speech prepared for delivery at Rajbansi's funeral.
"His contribution to nation building and bringing unity particularly here in KwaZulu-Natal is well documented."
Rajbansi was granted an official funeral after he died aged 69 on Thursday morning, after being admitted to hospital in Umhlanga, outside Durban, in October with bronchitis.
Ndebele said that he had served with "The Bengal Tiger", as Rajbansi was known, in the cabinet of the KwaZulu-Natal government between 2004 and 2009.
As premier of the province, Ndebele had invited Rajbansi to serve as sports and recreation MEC.
"True to his character of fostering co-operation at all times, he gladly accepted the request."
Ndebele said that Rajbansi had been involved during the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) negotiations that heralded a new constitutional democracy for South Africa.
The Minority Front had also been a "reliable force" as the country sought to develop in the post-apartheid era, he said.
Ndebele said the "most remarkable" example of this, was when, in 1999 and 2004, Rajbansi entered into a coalition with the ANC to allow it to retain power in the province.
The Minority Front won one seat in the provincial government in 1999 and two seats in 2004.
"Some may have been tempted to dismiss his role and that of his party as minor in the greater thick of things.
However some of us who have been part of the political processes of this province would attest that he was central to all that we have achieved."
Ndebele said Rajbansi sent out the message that African and Indian people needed to "live side-by-side."
He said he was certain the Minority Front would continue to play a "critical role" in the country's political landscape.
"Rajbansi has planted a seed that would be difficult to stop from blossoming," said Ndebele.