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'DA coalition doesn't have a case, we're focusing on service delivery' Mongameli Bobani

By Afikile Lugunya - Sep 14, 2018
'DA coalition doesn't have a case, we're focusing on service delivery' Mongameli Bobani

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, speaking after a grueling Thursday in the Port Elizabeth High Court where the Democratic Alliance (DA) coalition is seeking the reversal of his election as Athol Trollip’s replacement in August, said that service delivery is what is important to him than the court case.

The case was adjourned after the courts arguments from both the DA coalition and the respondents, who include Eastern Cape MEC for Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Fikile Xasa; rogue DA councillor, Victor Manyathi; Bobani and his Mayoral Committee.

The DA coalition's legal challenge is based on Section 36(3) of the Municipal Structures Act (117 of 1998), which states that, “The municipal manager of the municipality or, if the municipal manager is not available, a person designated by the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs in the province, presides over the election of a speaker”.

"After City Manager, Johann Mettler, left the chamber having declared that the meeting did not quorate, Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Fikile Xasa, erroneously invoked Section 36(3) and designated an individual to preside over one item: The election of a Speaker," the parties argue.

"It is an undisputed truth that the City Manager, Johann Mettler, was in fact at all times available and remained so for the full duration of this unlawfully convened continuation of said council meeting.

"As such, the election of a new Speaker, the subsequent passing of a Motion of No Confidence in the Executive Mayor, the election of a new Executive Mayor and the election of a Deputy Executive Mayor, were all illegal and invalid."

Bobani still told RNEWS that he is confident that the courts will rule in his favour.

"The DA doesn't have a case at all; they don't know what this case is all about because they keep contradicting themselves,” Bobani said.

"We are confident of victory as we wait for the court to deliver the judgement.

"Our legal team [led by Advocate Dali Mpofu and Themba Ngcukayithobi] has put a very strong case, as we wait for the judgement I'll go back to my office and do service delivery because that is what is important to me.

"What is important to me is service delivery."

Since it is a civil case, the date of the ruling will be communicated privately with the applicants and respondents.

Meanwhile outside the PE High Court, DA Eastern Cape leader, who is also the former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Human Settlements MMC, Nqaba Bhanga, and former Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, took an opportunity to address DA supporters, who also gathered for the court hearing.

Bhanga said that the law of this country should be respected.

"The battle going forward is bigger. Why all of these groups are against us is because the government of those that stolen and broke our city is going to leave because 2019 is coming,” he said.

“Why they have to group together is because they want to steal from the coffers of the City.

“Other people don't have money to pay for electricity, democrats let's finish this one! This is not the time for you to sleep it's time for you to go to your wards pause the gap and defend the DA.

"There are people who are trying to sell your votes so stand up and fight back by defending your DA and votes!”

Bhanga added that if the DA coalition does not win the court, then they will go back to being an excellent opposition party.

"We are going to be a good government that we were and if we are an opposition government, we are going to be the best opposition."

Even if the DA and its coalition partners win the court battle, it remains to be seen if they will be able to hold onto power after their other coalition partner, the Patriotic Alliance (PA) announced on Thursday that it was switching sides again and routing for Bobani.

So far, three DA councillors have also indicated they are leaving the party and the ANC claims more councillors will leave the party soon.