‘Step down, Shameen’

2012-09-01 16:22

There’s more fear and loathing in the fractured House of ­Rajbansi.

Not only is the late Minority Front (MF) leader Amichand Rajbansi’s huge estate of more than R60 million the subject of a court battle between his ­second wife, Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi and his children, but his son Vimal and ex-wife Asha Devi have now demanded that she (Shameen) step down as leader.

Rajbansi jr (Vimal) and his mother, whose acrimonious ­divorce from the Bengal Tiger in the mid-1990s made headlines with accusations of muthi, want Thakur-Rajbansi out of the ­party, which they say is the ­Tiger’s legacy and the result of his 57-year career in politics.

They argue that since Rajbansi’s death in January, his second wife has “run the party into the ground” by acting in an autocratic manner and undermining democratically-elected councillors and other office bearers.

“I am not getting involved out of resentment towards her. Yes, the party did affirm her as leader after my father passed away, but since then she has become an autocrat and a law onto ­herself,” Vimal saidthis week.

“She has illegally recalled Roy Bhoola as MP in Cape Town, which the court overturned, has fired three councillors who were reinstated and is refusing to work with elected office bearers.

"All these bad decisions have ended up in court, which is costing the party money while work is not being done. This has to stop otherwise the party is ­going to be destroyed in 2014.”

He said he had attempted to make peace between the party membership and his stepmother, but she had failed to honour several agreements.

He said he met with party activists who asked him to get involved and “help save the party”.

“I did not want to get involved but if people want to elect me as the party leader so I can carry on my ­father’s work I will do so.”

Rajbansi jr said while his flamboyant mother, who joined the IFP after divorcing the Raj, had “fallen out of the limelight”, she still had skills and experience to offer in rebuilding the party, launched by Rajbansi sr ahead of the constitutional ­negotiations which brought apartheid to an end.

The Raj had previously headed up the apartheid-sponsored House of Delegates – the second-grade political representation for members of the Indian community willing to work with the apartheid government.

He was later declared unfit to hold public office for life by the James Commission, appointed to investigate corruption in the House of Delegates.

Thakur-Rajbansi said she would work with the Rajbansis if they joined the party.

“I am part of the MF’s structures. If the MF wants to accommodate them, so be it,” she said.

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