Minority Front (MF) leader Amichand Rajbansi continued his cat-and-mouse game with the African National Congress in the Durban council by saying he had formed a “working relationship” with the ruling party, instead of an “alliance”.
Rajbansi said this meant that he would decide his support for the ANC on an issue-by-issue basis. However, he sang the praises of ANC provincial leaders, saying they were “deeply sympathetic” to his grievances.
Rajbansi’s protest move allegedly over the council’s unfair treatment of Indian jobseekers formally means that the ANC has lost its majority in the council, where it has 94 seats and the MF 10.
However, observers consider it most unlikely that he will sever his ties with the ruling party.
“He knows which side his bread is buttered,” one said.
Insiders said the MF leader had taken umbrage after the candidate he nominated as the head of the council’s communications department, senior MF member Visvin Reddy, failed to get the job.
Rajbansi’s announcement of a “working relationship” came after the first round of meetings with senior ANC leaders in the province last week.
He said further details would be worked out after a second meeting with “top-level” ANC leaders. He said Nelson Mandela had called him twice to express a desire to mediate.
The MF leader said he was also waiting for the “dust to settle” after the approval of the upcoming legislation suspending the anti-defection clause.
The MF’s relationship with the ANC in the provincial legislature and Parliament would remain unaffected. The MF’s two seats in the legislature helped the ANC match IFP representation and gave the ruling party a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Rajbansi said the Indian community constituted 22% of Durban’s population and could not be expected to “line up with a begging bowl for positions”.