The MF’s newly-appointed secretary, councillor Jonathan Annipen.

Durban - Councillor Jonathan Annipen, who works side by side with MF leader Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi, has come a long way since joining the party as a general assistant in 2012.

From being the party’s youth association chairperson, spokesperson and Proportional Representative councillor in Ward 73 (Chatsworth), the 28-year-old was elected MF secretary on Saturday.

“I will now focus on the administrative functioning of the party. This includes monitoring, grooming and expanding the branches in other areas. I will also regularly train interns on party policies and programmes, and ensure members are disciplined.

“My aim is to hit the ground running in the lead up to the 2019 provincial and national elections, and change the perception people have of the MF and restore their faith in the party.”

His journey with the MF, he said, started while still in high school.

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“I used to see Mr Rajbansi working hard to help those in need. I also wanted to do good for my community and became an MF volunteer,” said Annipen, who described Rajbansi, also known as the Bengal Tiger, as a “giant among men”.
His parents, who worked as caretakers, could not afford to send Jonathan to university after he matriculated and Annipen was left with no choice but to find a job to help supplement his family’s income.

He worked at shops in Chatsworth and delivered newspapers, until he joined the MF as a general assistant.

“At that time there was no youth wing leader, so I took on that role and helped form youth divisions in Phoenix, KwaDukuza, Chatsworth, Durban Central and Pietermaritzburg.”

He was appointed party spokesperson in 2013 - when court battles over leadership and internal squabbles were at their height - and became a councillor in 2016.

With all the issues since being resolved, he said, he would focus on making the party relevant again.