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Deputy Mayor Mongameli Bobani to know fate after months of tensions

Aug 24, 2017
Deputy Mayor Mongameli Bobani to know fate after months of tensions

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Deputy Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, will know his fate when a motion of confidence will be brought against him at Thursday's Council Meeting.

The motion that was initially scheduled for August 10 was postponed to the 24th of August at the last minute, apparently to make way for other 'important' items on the Council meeting agenda that still needed to be debated by Councillors as well as to allow for outstanding and crucial reports to be handed in for the motion.

Meanwhile, things seem to not have improved. On Tuesday, the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led coalition government in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality said that it was perturbed at the alleged comments attributed to Bobani, regarding the recent evictions of people occupying land illegally in the Motherwell area.

Cllr Nqaba Bhanga, MMC for Human Settlements in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality said that for the Deputy Executive Mayor to be seen to be inciting residents, who were recently moved by the Sheriff of the Court from a site where they had erected illegal structures "is nothing short of irresponsible in this regard and his behaviour is all the more concerning due to the violent nature of the recent invasions and protests". 

"It also flies in the face of court's decision.

It is understood that the crucial reports and investigations into Bobani's alleged poor leadership are now available for the motion of no confidence in him to be put before councillors.

What is not fully clear is how many of the smaller opposition parties are in his corner.

If removed, Bobani will remain just a Councillor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

In May, UDM supporters (main image) protested against the removal of Bobani and asked for Trollip's head instead.


Renewed move to remove Bobani

Speaking to reporters in Soweto at the beginning of the month, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Tollip, revealed that no progress was made in trying to resolve tensions between him and his Deputy from the United Democratic Movement's (UDM), and a motion of no confidence in Bobani was to be debated at Thursday's a Council meeting. 

Trollip, who was in Johannesburg with other DA Mayors for a report back of what the DA-led administrations had achieved after a year in office, said that UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa had committed to help the two iron out their differences in July, but is yet to meet with the two.

"There is no guarantee with a vote of no confidence. However, it's a statement: It's a statement that what you are doing is not acceptable; it's holding us back," the Mayor said, adding that he believes the city is better off without Bobani as Deputy Mayor.

Tensions reach a boiling point in May following days of heightened tensions at City Hall after Trollip, finally indicated he wanted to get rid of Bobani resulting in the principal political parties that are in a coalition with the DA having to meet to diffuse the situation.

Bobani is Deputy Mayor through a coalition agreement signed between the UDM, the 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 in 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.

Apparently, the are disagreements between Trollip and Bobani over governance and staff appointments -  chief among them being the fate of Municipal Manager, Johann Mettler.

The rumours were confirmed when the two began to make public allegations and counter-allegations leading to a point 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, after the mediation, all parties to the coalition affirmed a commitment to the continuance of the coalition, "and the coalition remains intact".

The ultimatum put to the UDM to remove Bobani was withdrawn.

"The coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay is set to go from strength to strength," the parties said then.

While Trollip sacked Bobani as the political head of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Health Directorate, he remains in his post as Deputy Mayor. 

Trollip 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 then.

"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.