MF chiefs rebel against their leader

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DAILY NEWS

After a dismal performance in the election, Minority Front (MF) leader Shameen Thakur Rajbansi is facing a rebellion from the partys leadership. Picture: PURI DEVJEE

Durban - After a dismal performance in the election this month, Minority Front (MF) leader Shameen Thakur Rajbansi is facing a rebellion from the party’s leadership.

At the first meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) since the polls, senior party leaders not only questioned, but suspended, some of her decisions.

Sources at the meeting said the majority of the NEC members were opposed to Thakur Rajbansi closing three party offices, including the main office in Chatsworth.

They asked why she had appointed former MPL Vimmi Ramdaas-Bachu as the provincial co-ordinator when she had not consulted the executive committee on the matter.

These issues were not on the agenda, but members passed a motion on them, with the majority (seven of the 11 members) voting to overturn Thakur Rajbansi’s decisions.

“To us it did not make sense that on the one hand she is closing offices because she says there is no money, yet she is creating a post for Vimmi without consulting with us,” said a member who did not want to be named.

“How are we preserving the legacy of the Tiger when we shut down the Chatsworth office? This is the same office he operated from.”

MF leaders opposed to Thakur Rajbansi said they were shocked to learn that she was planning to close the party offices in Newcastle, Chatsworth and Newlands.

In the May 7 election the MF lost its only seat in the National Assembly while its two seats in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature were reduced to one.

The party therefore stands to lose a huge portion of the funding it received over the past five years.

“No matter what the financial situation is, Chatsworth delivered 15 000 votes in the election and therefore it makes no sense to shut down the office there,” said an MF councillor who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation.

The sources said the issues were referred to the next NEC meeting on June 11. “What it means is that all the decisions taken by (Thakur Rajbansi) have been suspended until the next meeting.”

At that meeting members are expected to raise concerns about the appointment of a proportional representation councillor in eThekwini.

”We will seek legal advice because what she is doing is killing the MF. Already things are not looking good for us going to (local government elections in) 2016,” a member said.

The NEC meeting was held just a day after former MP, Roy Bhoola, resigned and warned that party in-fighting would lead to its demise.

Asked for comment on Thursday, Thakur Rajbansi said in a text message that the NEC minutes had not been signed and approved by all and therefore she could not comment.

It is understood that senior party member and spokesman, Patrick Pillay, was among those who voted against Thakur Rajbansi at the meeting.

He refused to comment, however, saying he could not divulge anything relating to a national executive committee meeting.

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