The Minority Front (MF) announced today that Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi, the widow of the late Amichand Rajbansi, will take over as party president.
Thakur-Rajbansi's appointment was widely expected. A former pharmacist by profession, Thakur-Rajbansi married the late MF leader in March 2001. She is currently a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.
The MF solely concentrates on the Indian vote and is thus an ethnically based party. Most of its support is found in KZN, which has the largest Indian population in the country. Stemming from Rajbansi’s experience in the House of Delegates in the 1980s, the strategy of the MF is to work for change from within the system.
The party’s ability to command the support of a large portion of the KZN electorate puts the MF in the position of king makers in the province at times when support for the ANC and the IFP is evenly balanced.
Rajbansi believed that the MF “should stand in ‘co-operative co-existences’ with ruling parties.
Following the 2000 local elections, the MF threw its weight behind the ANC and enabled the party to gain control over the Durban city council. Similarly, after the 1999 election, the MF agreed to use its one seat in the National Assembly to help the ANC control 267, or two-thirds, of the NA votes.
Rajbansi believed that the MF “should stand in ‘co-operative co-existences’ with ruling parties,” and asserted that opposition politics that criticized the government merely for the sake of opposition did not “contribute to the reconstruction and development of South Africa.”
In 2004, the MF conducted its campaign along the same lines of constructive engagement. In the 2004 elections, the African National Congress managed to clock up 46.98% of the votes in the hotly contested province. The Inkatha Freedom Party achieved 36.82% and its coalition partner, the Democratic Alliance, had 8.35% while the IFP's other alliance partner, the Freedom Front Plus, received 0.28% of the poll. The Minority Front had 2.61%, the African Christian Democratic Party 1.78%the United Democratic Movement 0.75% and the New National Party 0.52%.