Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi

Durban - Two Minority Front councillors have failed in their attempt to prevent the party from holding an inquiry into their alleged misconduct.

In an urgent application in the Durban High Court on Tuesday, councillors Dheenadayalan and Ganas Govender also asked for an order declaring the appointment of party leader Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi and 16 councillors forming the “executive committee” of the party illegitimate in terms of the 1999 constitution of the MF, and therefore not fit to conduct a disciplinary inquiry expected to take place tomorrow.

The inquiry relates to the party’s national conference held in Chatsworth last November.

The councillors have been accused of unlawfully convening the conference by securing the venue, inviting prominent citizens and the media to attend, permitting minors to participate as “delegates” and placing adverts in the media about it.

The men have been charged with bringing the MF into disrepute, acting in a manner unbecoming of a member of the party, and showing contempt for its structures.

Ganas Govender said the MF “executive committee” was cobbled together last year to get rid of him and his co-applicant. He said troubles in the party started when the former party leader, Amichand Rajbansi, fell ill.

Govender said that when Rajbansi fell ill, instead of an election process, Thakur-Rajbansi confronted each of the elected representatives at a meeting and asked them to answer “yes” or “no” to whether they had a problem with her leadership.

He said many members felt intimidated by Thakur-Rajbansi, but did not voice their objections, as their leader was gravely ill.

At the end of last January, after Rajbansi’s death, a meeting was called at which councillor Patrick Pillay said Thakur-Rajbansi should become leader.

Challenging her position was the MF’s sole MP, Roy Bhoola, who joined other senior party officials in convening the conference where Thakur-Rajbansi was ousted as leader.

Bhoola was proclaimed the new MF leader.

In court papers on Tuesday, Govender said Thakur-Rajbansi was trying to silence them because her appointment as leader was unconstitutional, and because she regarded vigorous debate as an offence against her. “Her response is to immediately attempt to expel anyone who raises criticism,” he said.

“Thakur-Rajbansi is high-handed and autocratic, and makes decisions unilaterally and in a manner not contemplated or sanctioned by the (MF’s) constitution.

“The present leadership clearly has no respect for debate and democracy, let alone adherence to its own constitution.”

He said that if the interim relief was not granted, they would be found guilty in absentia and ejected from the party.

The party opposed the application on the basis that it was not urgent. It said the Govenders had known since November that they were conducting themselves in a manner that might lead to disciplinary action being taken against them. - Daily News