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Coalition gets another chance: Trollip withdraws ultimatum to fire Bobani

MAY 23, 2017
Coalition gets another chance: Trollip withdraws ultimatum to fire Bobani

Following days of heightened tensions at City Hall after Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, finally indicated he wanted to get rid of his Deputy, Mongameli Bobani, the parties to the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led coalition met on Monday evening to diffuse the situation.

Bobani is Deputy Mayor through a coalition agreement signed between the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) and other smaller parties to effectively oust the African National Congress (ANC) after the DA, represented by Trollip, failed to get an outright win of the Metro in last year's Local Government Elections.

While they publicly denied it for months, there had been rumours of growing disharmony between Trollip and Bobani.

There had been apparent disagreements between Trollip and Bobani, chief among them being the fate of Municipal Manager, Johann Mettler.

The rumours were confirmed in recent weeks when the two began to make public allegations and counter-allegations leading to last week Tuesday when Trollip announced that he had fired Bobani from the Health Directorate and said he would seek his removal at council.

According to a joint statement released by the DA and the UDM, all parties to the coalition affirmed a commitment to the continuance of the coalition, "and the coalition remains intact".

"The parties recommitted to govern in the best interests of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay, putting the people first and ensuring government is stable," read the statement.

"A key priority for all four parties is to pass the upcoming 2017/18 Municipal Budget, and Integrated Development Plan, which we intend to do with unity.

"A small committee of members from each party to the coalition has been formed to keep open communications and to discuss matters within the coalition, so that our relations grow stronger. This committee will begin by considering the issues raised in NMB recently between the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

"To this end, the ultimatum put to the United Democratic Movement to remove the Deputy Mayor has been withdrawn between the parties, and instead the small committee will resolve the matter."

The parties affirmed the strength of their relations, "and the importance of building the best relations between ourselves for the benefit of South Africa".

"The coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay is set to go from strength to strength."

Coalition hits troubles

On Tuesday, Trollip announced that he had sacked Bobani as the political head of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Health Directorate. 

He said that the Directorate has been of concern for a number a months given serious allegations of maladministration and impropriety, all of which are being investigated.

"Furthermore, Cllr Bobani's public behaviour and conduct has been unacceptable as a member of my Mayoral Committee and not consistent with what is expected of a Deputy Mayor," Trollip said.

"I have attempted on numerous occasions to address Cllr Bobani's conduct through the UDM's National Leadership. Cllr Bobani has gone too far with his continued unsubstantiated defamatory remarks, spurious public statements and recently laid criminal charges against senior executive administrators."

UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa, responded by telling Trollip to swallow his pride as Bobani was going nowhere yet.

Bobani also denied all allegations levelled at him.

Speculation was rife that Trollip would seek Bobani's axing at Tuesday's Council Meeting.