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UDM: Nelson Mandela Bay political drama shows DA lacks the 'maturity' to lead coalition govts

Sep 22, 2017
UDM: Nelson Mandela Bay political drama shows DA lacks the 'maturity' to lead coalition govts

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) says the recent political drama in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has shown that the Democratic Alliance (DA) does not possess the maturity to form, manage and lead coalition governments.

This comes after the Patriotic Alliance, which was admitted into the DA-led coalition on the 28th of August after its Councillor, Marlon Daniels, helped to remove the UDM's Mongameli Bobani, as Deputy Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, on Thursday announced its immediate withdrawal from the DA-led coalition.

It has since emerged that the Patriotic Alliance had agreed to remove Bobani with the hope that Daniels would then become the new Deputy Executive Mayor.

However, a boycott of Thursday's Council Meeting by the UDM, the African National Congress (ANC) and other parties, forced proceedings to be adjourned as there were not enough numbers in the chamber to reach a quorum.

It was also then that the Patriotic Alliance discovered that the issue of the election of a new Deputy Executive Mayor was not even on the Council Meeting agenda, prompting Patriotic Allaince leader, Gayton McKenzie, to write to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, that the party was leaving the coalition immediately.

"The Patriotic Alliance National Executive Leadership hereby notifies Cllr Athol Trollip of the withdrawal from the coalition in the Nelson Mandela Bay. The agreement reached was very clear, we will only enter into a coalition with the Democratic Alliance when the position of Deputy Mayor is made available for PA occupancy," wrote McKenzie.

Trollip stated; “I do not have the unilateral right or power as the Executive Mayor to appoint the Deputy Mayor.

“It’s got to be done in conjunction with all of our coalition partners, and the opportunity to have that discussion has not happened yet.”

Daniels remains the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's head of Public Health, which was previously occupied by Bobani, until Executive Mayor Trollip decides to remove him, which he warned would see him joining ranks with the anti-DA bloc.

UDM President, Bantu Holomisa, on Friday said that, despite all its trickery, the DA was now with friends in the Bay.

"Biased and unproven accusations. Using draft reports, without an audit opinion, not authorised by council. A national party leader quoting from a draft report. Press conferences and excited media reports promoting cheap propaganda based on a misrepresentation of the draft report.

"An executive mayor declining to comment on a report, because it is a draft – having first drawn vigorous attention to it. Fabrications and distortion of facts to excuse a dubious political marriage of convenience.

"A breach of confidence between a council and a professional firm of advisors. A court document gone missing from a judges file. A high court application dismissed as urgent, but without the merits of the case being heard.

"And yet, the Democratic Alliance (DA) claimed victory this past week. The reality is that the DA sits without a majority in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBMM) Council. There is no government without coalition partners. So, whose victory is it? It certainly isn’t the people of Nelson Mandela Bay," he described.

Holomisa said that the happenings in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality have revealed the DA's true colours as "a party with a self-important attitude that takes an unbending, bully approach to coalition governance".

"It continues to use a style of arrogating to direct, instructing and threatening. In other words, the NMBMM coalition partners must do as 'the boss' wants… or else!" he further said.

"The DA effectively rid itself of a coalition partner, the UDM, by dissing our deputy executive mayor Mongameli Bobani for not dancing to the DA tune. The DA then cajoles the Patriotic Alliance (PA), to front Mr Bobani’s removal on the promise of that position. Then, surprise, surprise, the DA reneges and the PA withdraws from the marriage of convenience entered in June this year.

"The UDM still does not understand why the DA entered into a separate agreement (from the existing co-governance agreement) with the PA? We were not part of the negotiations and were merely informed of the DAs decision. Is it because the DA had hatched a plan, in collusion with the PA, with the sole purpose of getting rid of Mr Bobani?"

Holomisa said that it must be the case, considering that PA leader Gayton McKenzie wrote in the divorce letter to executive mayor Athol Trollip that: “The agreement reached was very clear, we will only enter into a coalition with the Democratic Alliance when the position of Deputy Mayor is made available for PA occupancy.

"It is now clear that the DA has neither the maturity (nor the bearing) to form, manage and lead coalition governments which are, by their very nature, demanding of compassion and mutual respect," he added.

"The DAs divide and rule mentality has no place in the politics of coalition. The sooner its leadership realises that, the better.

"The UDM will step up to strengthen the developing mechanics of coalition governance in the run-up to the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, when coalition governance is expected to become the norm in the next chapter of South Africa’s maturing democracy."