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Yet another attempt by the newly appointed leader of the Minority Front (MF), Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi, to fire three party councillors in the eThekwini metro, has hit a snag with the court reinstating the three to their positions.
This is the second abortive attempt by Thakur-Rajbansi to remove the party’s public representatives.
A month ago, Thakur-Rajbansi fired the party’s sole MP in Cape Town, Roy Bhoola, who refused to be recalled to the provincial legislature. He was brought before the party’s disciplinary committee and fired, but the Cape High Court reinstated Bhoola after he challenged Thakur-Rajbansi's powers to fire him.
Bhoola also argued that the party’s constitution made no provision for disciplinary action. She is now facing a challenge from three councillors whom she expelled from the party for a “variety of misdemeanours” that were mounting.
Thakur-Rajbansi said the three PR councillors – Dheenadayalan Govender, Lyndal Singh and Ganas Govender – had been fired for not appearing before the party’s executive committee.
“This was a sign of insubordination and we terminated their MF membership”, said Thakur-Rajbansi, who added that once this had been done the party submitted new names to the council to replace them.
However, the councillors took the matter to court and got an interim interdict reinstating their membership of the party and their positions in the council.
“As a party leader I will have to live with these challenges. These are tests that come with taking on this leadership,” she said.
However, yesterday Singh said they had “absolutely” no idea why they were being dismissed.
“We have not even received a letter from her why we were being removed. On Friday we went to the Durban High Court, which reinstated our membership,” said Singh.
eThekwini metro speaker, Logan Naidoo, confirmed that the council had received a court order preventing his office from replacing the three councillors from the council.
Visvin Reddy, the former confidant of the late MF leader, Amichand Rajbansi, warned that without a clear succession plan in place and a proper constitution, the MF was bound to disintegrate without Rajbansi.
Reddy said given that the party had no proper constitution outlining the leadership layer and seniority, what was happening now was bound to have happened.
“The party never operated using the constitution. Mr Rajbansi ran the party almost all by himself; did things to suit himself.
“It was always clear to me that those left behind would not be able to run the party in the absence of a clear constitution,” said Reddy.
However Thakur-Rajbansi said yesterday that overall the Minority Front was “stable’ and “functioning well” apart from the challenges in eThekwini.
“I want to assure the voters that the Minority Front will not tolerate threats from councillors….,” she said.
Five councillors in the city have threatened to resign from the party if Thakur-Rajbansi tried again to remove some councillors. This would trigger by-elections.