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Durban - The Minority Front (MF) could lose its one and only seat on the eThekwini Municipality’s executive committee (Exco) to the IFP if it does not retain its two wards in by-elections to be held after the general elections.
The resignation of two ward councillors from the MF has put the party on the back foot in the council as it now finds its seats being reduced from 10 to eight, which means that the IFP with its nine seats has the edge.
Bradley Singh, Ronnie Pillay and Lyndal Singh resigned as MF councillors earlier this month to join the DA.
The MF could only replace Lyndal Singh, a PR councillor, while its two wards - Ward 52 in Phoenix and Ward 73 in Chatsworth - would be decided through by-elections.
But the IFP believes that because it is in the majority the MF should be made to forfeit its Exco seat.
IFP caucus leader, Mdu Nkosi, said: “In fact if there was any fairness the Exco seat should be given to the IFP, we should not have to wait for the by-election. The IFP would strengthen the opposition at Exco because the DA is just left there to fight alone without any support from the NFP and the MF Exco members who always vote with the ANC.”
But MF Exco member and party spokesman, Patrick Pillay, was adamant his party would retain the two wards after the by-elections.
“The people on the ground are giving us a strong message that they want the MF so I am not concerned at all (about losing the Exco seat)… Our campaign has been going very well and is well-received.”
However the MF has been losing support to the DA. In a by-election in November, the party lost Ward 70 in Chatsworth to the DA which increased its support from 33 percent in 2011 to 58 percent in the by-election last year.
In the same by-election the MF had its support reduced to 10 percent from the 44 percent it got in 2011. But Pillay insists this poor showing was because the MF was going through a rough patch at the time.
“We are past that phase now, we have worked on the divisions and we are now stronger,” Pillay said.
The DA would not say if it would field the former MF councillors as candidates in the by-elections.
Zwakele Mncwango, the leader of the DA caucus in eThekwini, said: “They joined as ordinary members, they were not promised any positions and therefore they will be subjected to our internal processes which would include nominations and interviews.”
In the event that the MF wins only one seat, bringing its total number to nine, a number equal to those occupied by the IFP, the Exco seat would be decided by the toss of a coin, Nkosi said.