Minority Front leader Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi says her party is poised for success in the May 7 elections as it hopes to retain its one seat in the national assembly and the two in the KZN legislature. This is despite the internal leadership squabbles that have rocked the party since the death of its founder Amichand Rajbansi over a year ago.
She agreed that the past two years have been the most difficult, but believes that is all in the past now. “I did everything by the book and in the end I was confirmed as the leader of the Minority Front”.
Thakur-Rajbansi was speaking at the launch of her party’s manifesto at the Coastlands Hotel, in Durban, where she made a grand entrance to the sounds of Survivor’s popular song, Eye of the Tiger.
She said the party also has its sights on Gauteng, a province it will be contesting for the first time in its 20-year history.
“Politics is like a business and sometimes you have to run it as such,” she said explaining her rationale for contesting Gauteng. Over the past few years, there have been many people who have relocated from KZN to Gauteng and the MF would be hoping to get their support in the polls, she said.
Conspicuous by his absence at the manifesto launch was Roy Bhoola the only representative of the MF in the national assembly. Asked about this, Thakur-Rajbansi said Bhoola had been invited and could not say why he had not attended.
Bhoola had challenged Thakur-Rajbansi legitimacy as leader of the MF until the two sides reached an out of court settlement last year.
“It is by his own choice, there is nothing I can do to bring him here… Maybe he is on his way out,” Thakur-Rajbansi said.
While the MF has not released the list of its candidates for the national and provincial legislatures, the Daily News understands that Bhoola has not been included in the list. Thakur-Rajbansi said that the names of candidates had been decided by the party’s national executive committee, adding that she had only “guided” the committee.
The manifesto launch was attended by a few black members and Thakur-Rajbansi rejected any perception that they formed part of a rented crowd.
“I don’t look at anyone in terms of race but I look at them as a soul. We don’t rent anyone in the MF,” she said adding that the party would certainly be fielding black candidates in the next local government elections in 2016.
She said black members came mainly from wards that were under the control of the MF and were mostly people who had been helped by MF councillors.
“Every Sunday I have a problem of getting hold of Patrick (Pillay) because he is always busy working in black communities,” she said.
Thakur-Rajbansi said the MF was operating on a shoestring budget and said this was the only threat posed by the DA to her party. “They have the money, you can buy people but you can never buy brains.”
In its manifesto the MF calls for:
- The scrapping of affirmative action;
- Making HIV and Aids a notifiable disease;
- Extension of the child support grant to 18 years; and,
- Scrapping of race quotas for tertiary institutions.