Tributes pour in for 'giant' Rajbansi

2011-12-29 22:01

Johannesburg - KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Sizwe Mchunu - the man once labelled as an ornament by Minority Front leader Amichand Rajbansi - was one of the first people to send condolences following his death on Thursday.

"Mr Rajbansi was one of the longest serving politicians in our province and we, the Democratic Alliance, will certainly miss his lively debates in the provincial legislature," said Mchunu said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Rajbansi had been critical of the fact that Mchunu did not occupy the leader's seat in the legislature, despite being elected as provincial party leader, while John Steenhuisen, another DA MPL, occupied the seat.

This made Mchunu an "ornament", Rajbansi said at the time.

"I simply wanted to know why Sizwe Mchunu, the DA Leader in KwaZulu-Natal, was not sitting in the leader's seat during parliamentary proceedings but instead the party's John Steenhuisen was sitting in that seat... " Rajbansi said in a statement issued in March this year.

He said he merely wanted to know why the DA had displayed Mchunu as "an ornament for public show".

Rajbansi said: "I... asked if the DA did not let him [Mchunu] sit there because they regarded him as a 'darkie'.".

But on Thursday Mchunu said he prayed that Rajbansi's loved ones "will find strength through their faith at this sad time".

Rajbansi died, aged 69, on Thursday morning, after being admitted to hospital in Umhlanga, outside Durban, in October with bronchitis.

The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal said Rajbansi had a long and remarkable career in politics, spanning both the pre and post-apartheid.

"Being from separate political parties we were not always in agreement.

"However we appreciated his efforts to position his party within the framework of our new and democratic South Africa," said ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala.

He said Rajbansi was always keen to express his associations with ANC stalwarts, such as Moses Mabhida, Chief Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela.

"We believe that this reflected his desire to locate his party in a progressive political terrain, but at the same time maintaining an independent position."

The ANC and Minority Front had a co-operation agreement which led to Rajbansi serving as sport MEC from 2004 to 2009.

The IFP said Rajbansi was one of South Africa's political giants.

"His deep commitment to deepening and consolidating our democracy cannot be questioned," IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said in a statement.

"He was a man with firm beliefs, who was never afraid to take a stand. His passion for politics and the people of South Africa was commendable."

Buthelezi said he developed a strong working relationship with Rajbansi during the height of apartheid as members of the Black Alliance.

"Like many politicians, he was both revered and reviled. South Africa has lost a true South African patriot."

DA leader Helen Zille said Rajbansi helped bring "coalition politics" to South Africa.

"He was one of the people who introduced the idea of coalition politics to South Africa by strategically aligning his party with others to achieve his objectives," Zille said in a statement.

He was a renowned politician who had served for many decades in various key political positions, both before and after the advent democracy.

"He had significant influence in KwaZulu-Natal, where he was a well-known figure. The Democratic Alliance wishes his family and political colleagues fortitude during this time of mourning. Our thoughts are with them."

The speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature said in a statement that Rajbansi would be missed by "both friends and political rivals".

  • Cracker - 2011-12-29 22:28

    Politicians' vanity. Praise in exchange for praise. Just thinking about them makes you sick.

      Dominic Wieners - 2011-12-30 00:05

      @ cracker...politicians are one and the same. Unfortunately they are needed, and the 'Tiger' was not shy to isolate those who where not needed...

      eric.watters - 2011-12-30 00:35


      Squeegee - 2011-12-30 07:17

      Giant ego. Hot air. Lots like him around today. The country's comedians mourn his passsing.

  • Dominic Wieners - 2011-12-30 00:01

    As a white South African, I salute the 'Tiger' as he was known here in KZN, and pay condolences to his family. May he rest in peace, and may politics in KZN revere what he sought to accomplish, and aspire to that!

  • Comrade - 2011-12-30 05:47


  • Daft - 2011-12-30 06:53

    I think his 1st wife divorced him because of his "Minority Front ".....

  • Charmaine - 2011-12-30 06:54

    A good man, did what he had to do accordingly, Some said he was a fraud, But Only God Knows Best, I intend to carry on when he left off. He is family. May God Grant Him Peace and Rest in Paradise, Gone But will never Be Forgotten, His name will stay for History records for all that he has done for our South African Nation, was not a racists, He believed that we are all Human Beings according to Scriptures. It was a pleasure shaking hands with a Servant Of God. Farewell My Brother,Rajbansi, we will meet soon in Heaven. To all the family, God will heal all our Hearts for this Great Loss. Be Blessed. ( Charmaine McDonald)

  • Claude - 2011-12-30 08:16

    Despite what negative may be said about Raj(Tiger)Bansi... He was still a good man and an even better politician compared to the idiots we have in parliament today. When every1 else ran from the boere at the conference center, he stood frontline trying to bring about peace. It cost him a humiliating slap in the face but nevertheless stood his ground. See where Terre’blanche ended up... with his nickers round his ankles and b*m fulla kum… Ha Ha

  • Claude - 2011-12-30 08:19

    RIP Tamil Tiger ;)

  • Damian - 2011-12-30 12:36

    Like most politicians , he was also on the take, but he certainly help lift all South Africans of our "Pariah State of the World" title. RIP.

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