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Nelson Mandela Bay Council Meeting descends into chaos over Nombiba's presence

By Afikile Lugunya - Feb 28, 2019
Nelson Mandela Bay Council Meeting descends into chaos over Nombiba's presence

Thursday's Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Meeting kicked off with a heated debate on why African National Congress (ANC) Councillor, Bongo Nombiba, who was convicted of corruption and jailed last year, was present in the Council Chambers.

Opposition parties want Nombiba thrown out after his petition to the Supreme Court of Appeals failed, which they argued means he should be sent back to prison.

However, the ANC-led coalition insists he is still legally a Councillor and must be allowed to be in the Chambers - perhaps so that they can boost their numbers.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Councillor, Lance Grootboom, said: "I think what is very important here is that the court has ruled and dismissed the application of Councillor of Nombiba."

"We are sitting here with an illegal Councillor." 

Meanwhile, the ANC's Andile Mfunda accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) of wanting to collapse the council adding that they cannot allow that.

Congress of the People (COPE) Councillor, Siyasanga Sijadu, addressed Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya and said that matters similar to Nombiba's status have been dealt with before.

"But now that the mayor is facing a vote of no confidence you refuse for him to go, I suggest that we adjourn for 20 minutes and come back," she said.

Bong Nombiba's conviction and jailing

Nombiba was found guilty of fraud and money laundering on the 9th of March 2018 and sentenced to seven years imprisonment - of which three years was suspended to five years.

On the 26th of April, Nombiba was sentenced to five years direct imprisonment.

On the 4th of June, he applied for leave to appeal, which was denied on the day.

He didn’t give up. On the 11th of April, he submitted his petition for leave to appeal in the Division of the High Court.

On the 4th of June, Nombiba was granted bail of R2 000 pending a petition to appeal both his convction and five-year sentence for fraud and money laundering.

On the 2nd of August, his petition for leave to appeal was denied by the Grahamstown High Court.

He then proceed to petition the Supreme Cour of Appeals (SCA).

Supreme Court of Appeals dismisses his appeal

Last week, the Supreme Court of Appeal denied Nombiba's leave to appeal his fraud conviction.

The debate then started on whether Nombiba is still a Councillor or not.

The Council Meeting had to be adjourned to allow for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's lawyers to provide a legal opinion on Nombiba's status.

When the meeting resumed, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya says that Acting Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality City Manager, Peter Nielson, has received legal advice that Nombiba still has until 12 March to appeal the SCA's decision - so he cannot be sent back to prison yet.

However, at the time of publishing, that had not quelled tenstions in the Council Chambers with heated exchanges between Councillors.

The DA asked for 10 minutes to caucus citing that "new information" had arisen over the legal opinion provided.

Support for Mongameli Bobani

Meanwhile, outside, supporters of embattled Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, gathered in song outside the Council Chambers.

Councillors are still expected to debate a motion of no confidence brought by the Patriotic Alliance against Bobani.

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