Ricochet News

How DA bid to have Mayor Mongameli Bobani investigated by Council failed

By Afikile Lugunya - Dec 5, 2018
How DA bid to have Mayor Mongameli Bobani investigated by Council failed

During a chaotic Council Meeting on Tuesday, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, survived an attempt by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) to have Council launch investigations into corruption and interference allegations against the Mayor -  with the possibility of having him removed if found guilty.

The meeting was characterised by heated exchanges and screaming battles between Councillors at the Jebe Nangoza Hall, in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. 

Tabling the DA motion against Bobani, Cllr Retief Odendaal, said that; “Recent media reports showed an unlawful interference in the administration of the Nelson Mandela Municipality as well as allegations of corruption against the Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani.

"Noting that Bobani has been recently been implicated in the series allegations of corruption in respect of the IPTS in the Nelson Mandela Bay.

“Noting further that Bobani is subject to a forensic investigation by the HAWKS in terms of which is alleged corruption, relationship with the local business men is a subject matter of the allegations."

He also highlighted that Bobani is implicated in at least two instances of unlawful interference in the administration, in a memorandum sent to an Executive Director.

While addressing the Speaker, Buyelwa Mafaya, Odendaal said: “Speaker, you the one who keeps saying that we need to trust you to deal with issues and I want to ask you why the matter has not been referred to council today. It was brought here by me, it was brought here by the DA - so how can we have this new administration deal with alleged instances of corruption.”

Odendaal suggested that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council should start the processes to deal with the allegations against the Bobani.

'Nelson Mandela Bay residents deserve to know if Bobani is as crook - or if he is not'

“The people of Nelson Mandela Bay have a right to know if their Mayor is a crook or not,” Cllr Odendaal described.

Cllr Morne Gerhard Steyn, also of the DA, seconded the motion highlighting that the Speaker has no choice, but to allow the investigations because the allegations mentioned by Odendaal are very serious.

“Even if it is not investigated by the laws ethics committee, which I believe that it must be done, but I believe that there are other Municipal institutions that can get the investigation done.”

'Motions based on assumptions or the truth'

Speaking for the African National Congress (ANC), Cllr Rory Riordaan said that he was stunned at the basis of the allegations and said that all Odendaal had said was based on assumptions.

“You say that Bobani is implicated in two instances of unlawful interference - and where is the truth of that? Also the cases that are currently being investigated by the HAWKS are allegations, but where is the truth, where are we in all of this?” Riordaan asked.

“They further say that this matter should be investigated, but they also said the matter is being handled by professionals."

He closed his argument by asking what can really be done by Council when the DA has all the 'evidence' aganist the Mayor, but are not showing it to anyone else.

Meanwhile Cllr Andile Mfunda, who is also from the ANC, said that he doesn’t understand any of what the DA is saying.

"[This] is why I don’t like the DA and I will never like the DA because they are not Godly and they will be punished by God one day,” he told Coiuncillors.

“They are so desperate, I mean listen to Cllr Odendaal’s input, I think there is something wrong with him I’m telling you."

'DA must not push us too far'

Mfunda then referred to the first wording of Cllr Ondendaal’s statement “recent media reports regarding unlawful interference on matters of administration".

“Are we a Council of Herald? Must we debate media statements of the Herald in this council? Are we serious about service delivery of our people?” he asked.

Mfunda further argued that the DA has cheap politics and are good in terms of propaganda; “We are here for service delivery and not for the Herald reports.

“I think there is something wrong with Cllr Odendaal, I don’t think he is well.”

At that point, the Speaker asked him to withdraw the statement because he is not a doctor.

Mfunda withdrew the statement, while warning “the DA must not push us too far”.

However, Cllr Odendaal raised a point of order saying that the statement was a threat.

He also revealed that for 10 years, he has been ridiculed by opposing Councillors and called names.

“I will be the first one to say that maybe there is something wrong with me because sometimes it feels to me that my obsession with doing what is right in terms of our Constitution is being held against me,” Odendaal said.

Mfunda was seconded by Cllr Marlon Daniels of the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

Unfortunately, for the DA and Cllr Odendaal the motion did not pass.