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UDM and DA go head-to-head in PE High Court over Bobani ouster

Sep 19, 2017
UDM and DA go head-to-head in PE High Court over Bobani ouster

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) and its coalition partner, the Democratic Alliance (DA), are expected in court on Tuesday where the Port Elizabeth High Court will hear an application by the UDM that the dramatic removal of its councillor, Mongameli Bobani, as Deputy Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in August be set aside.

The UDM chose the legal route after backing down from an aerlier threat to leave the DA-led coalition if Bobani was not reinstated.

"Since the outrageous DA orchestrated ousting of Deputy Executive Mayor Mongameli Bobani from the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan coalition government, such senior DA leaders as Mmusi Maimane, James Selfe, and Athol Trollip have relentlessly attacked the UDM, its loyal coalition partner until the DA breached the relationship," UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa said.

"I trust that the High Court will separate fact from fiction and that the honourable court will see through the DA’s politicking and identify the DA’s smear campaign against Bobani and the UDM.

"The UDM is taking a dim view of the irresponsible statement by DA Leader Maimane, to the effect that the UDM, in defending Bobani, is in fact also covering up corruption. The UDM rejects this false and loaded accusation by Maimane with deserved contempt."

Watch how Mongameli Bobani was booted out:

Holomisa said that the civil application in the High Court is to interdict and restrain the municipality from implementing the August 24 decision to remove Deputy Executive Mayor Bobani; and to reinstate him.

"The UDM argues that the mechanics of the introduction and acceptance of, and the voting on, and the decision of Council to pass a motion of no confidence in the Deputy Executive Mayor was unconstitutional and unlawful from the outset and should be set aside. And, in any event, a majority of council members of the Municipality were not present during the vote," he said.

"The DA, claiming good governance at every turn, should have known better than to have proceeded with the motion; should know better than to defend the illicit decision to remove the Deputy Executive Mayor. What the DA claims, and what the DA does; what the DA promises, and what the DA delivers, remain alarmingly divergent.

"The motion of no confidence is both unreasonable and irrational because there is no factual or legal grounds for the removal of the Deputy Executive Mayor."

Holomisa demands public apology from Maimane

On Wednesday last week, Holomisa demanded that DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, publicly apologise for apparently misleading the public over the saking of Bobani.

"I refer to the 'draft report' which had been prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in terms of which the Democratic Alliance (DA) had masterminded a dubious campaign to remove from office the United Democratic Movement (UDM) Deputy Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBMM), Cllr Mongameli Bobani, under false pretences," said UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa, in a statement.

"The DA has very publicly, consciously and concertedly undermined one of its coalition partners.

"You had relied on an embargoed PwC 'draft report', which we certainly would not have seen had we not demanded a copy at a meeting of coalition partners on 22 August 2017 - only two days ahead of the DA bulldozing a questionable motion of no-confidence in Cllr Bobani through Council."

He said that the "fecklessness of the 'draft report' forced [the DA] to keep it secret, but it did not preclude [it] from (ab)using it".

Read more >> here.

DA unmoved by lawsuit

The DA hit back at the UDM's claims that due process was not taken when its Bobani was sacked as Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Deputy Executive Mayor.

"In 16 separate letters, spanning over 48 pages, Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Cllr Athol Trollip comprehensively details the erratic and suspect behavior of Cllr Bobani," said Nqaba Bhanga - DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader.

Bhanga is also the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mayoral Commitee Member for Human Settlements.

"With the first letter written on 25 January 2017, United Democratic Movement (UDM) President Bantu Holomisa has received every piece of correspondence since then, along with substantiating evidence. Despite these sincere and measured requests, the UDM President has failed to act," he said.

"From refusing to remove official vehicle blue lights, voting repeatedly against the DA-led coalition, meeting with suspended officials accused of corruption, interfering in senior management appointments, requesting officials to make irregular payments, as well as arranging protests against the coalition government, Cllr Bobani turned his back on the people of Nelson Mandela Bay a long time ago.

"Worse still, this behavior has been endorsed by Bantu Holomisa through his refusal to take any action. It is inexplicable that Bobani has been protected, despite this very concerning behaviour and evidence in this regard."

Read more >> here.

No formal charges brought against Bobani

He further said that Councillor Bobani had not been formally accused of any wrongdoing; councillor Bobani had not been granted any opportunity to defend himself, or even to be heard on the alleged accusations of wrongdoing.

"The architect of this outrageous political plot, DA Executive Mayor Trollip, refers only to some forensic report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a report produced without any input from the Executive Deputy Mayor apparently compromised by the findings," Holomisa added.

"The flagrant DA double standard in dealing with its own, as the current Bongi Madikizela birthday party matter in the Western Cape Legislature clearly indicates, is unconscionable and offensive.

"The PwC report was never even tabled in council. All the so-called “evidence of corruption” was kept in DA briefcases. The DA has been making noise about these unfounded allegations against councillor Bobani, but the DA did not, and the DA would not share the information with its fellow leaders in the coalition.

"Trollip did not even refer the so called misbehaviour of Bobani to the Ethics Committee as required by municipal regulations. It is clear that a DA Kangaroo court presided over Bobani in his absence."

He said that it is a fact that a coalition multi-party enquiry levelled accusations of wrongdoing against both Trollip and Bobani; only Bobani had been sanctioned by Council.

'Patriotic Alliance used by DA and rewarded with a Mayoral Committee seat'

"Again, the flagrant, unmitigated double standard is as appalling as it is shameful.

"It is a fact that the DA encouraged and pressured Members of Parliament to vote their conscience in the August 8 motion of no confidence in President Zuma, and are now sanctioning Bobani for his considered voting record in Council. Yet again, the flagrant, unmitigated double standard is as appalling as it is shameful," Holomisa said.

"In typical DA baasskap style, the DA ordered an acolyte, Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Marlon Daniels, won over with a mayoral committee seat, and unilaterally invited to join the coalition government, to table the motion is so insulting that more than half the councillors walked out in disgust while the DA Speaker hastily counted remaining heads in an emptying chamber.

"The UDM, a loyal, and the largest DA coalition partner at the time, had not even been consulted on the PA joining ranks. Accordingly, the PA’s inclusion in the coalition government is invalid and of no force and effect. The PA was, apparently, sneaked in to front its new master’s dirty work.

"Quite ridiculous. If the DA can ever be said to be transparent, it is because the DA’s intimidation tactics are so transparent."

DA's bullying tactics

He said that bullying is most certainly not conducive to mature coalitions.

"The DA’s current coalition management appears to be a bridge too far for an assumptive political party with some 1 in 4 voter support. Given its current political management, the DA can hardly be expected to lead a national coalition government by Apartheid style baasskap dressed up in a cheap tuxedo," Holomisa said.

"As it is becoming all too evident that the DA cannot manage coalitions, the UDM will step up to strengthen the developing mechanics of coalition governance in the run-up to 2019, when coalition governance is expected to become the norm in the next chapter of South Africa’s maturing democracy.

"To this end the UDM is seeking relief against DA intimidation in the High Court not because the UDM is belligerent, or annoyed, or insulted, but because the UDM is determined to expose the empty DA promise of working coalitions against corruption. The court will have to rule on the DA’s underhanded, treacherous tactics in the vain attempt to get rid of a 'coalition partner' not willing to dance to the exact tune of the lordly DA clan master."

He said that the UDM will not abandon the people of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

"The UDM will not abandon the people of South Africa while the biggest opposition party continues to try to enforce itself by intimidation, in the absence of substantive vision," Holomisa described.

"The UDM is committed to strengthening governance in all spheres. Because the UDM stands for inclusive government, not exclusive, disdainful lordliness by some arrogated superiority."