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Metro calls Deputy Mayor Bobani's comments irresponsible

Aug 22, 2017
Metro calls Deputy Mayor Bobani's comments irresponsible

The Democratic Alliance (DA)-led coalition government in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Tuesday said that it was perturbed at the alleged comments attributed to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Deputy Executive Mayor, the United Democratic Movement's (UDM) Mongameli Bobani, regarding the recent evictions of people occupying land illegally in the Motherwell area.

The UDM is part of the DA-led coalition that booted out the African National Congress (ANC) in the 2016 Local Government Elections. However, things have not be smooth sailing between Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, the DA's Athol Trollip, and Bobani - with Trollip now seeking his removal through a no confidence motion at Thursday's Council Meeting.

While attending to protesting Motherwell residents on Tuesday morning, Bobani told a local radio station how Trollip had failed in his duties by not making an effort to meet the protesting residents to hear their grievances and not ensuring that those evicted from the municipal land in Welles Estate in June have a place to stay during the cold winter.

"We believe that every possible social and legal avenue was pursued to prevent this illegal occupation of land," said Cllr Nqaba Bhanga, MMC for Human Settlements in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

"We are mandated by Metro residents to provide political leadership, basic services and grow this Municipality, this can only be done in a law abiding fashion and we are committed to follow the law of the land in every aspect."

Bhanga 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.

"Forced evictions are a countrywide phenomenon that is guided by the law and as the affected Municipality we have to follow legal processes to the letter when carrying out evictions. Constitutionally, the Municipalities are legally empowered to exercise by-law enforcement to ensure stability within their jurisdiction," he added.    

"As such, the Municipality has had numerous engagements with the community of Wells Estate to discuss our housing development plan and how this is being rolled out.

"Essentially, there is an understanding between the Municipality and the affected communities with regards to our long-term housing strategy."

Bhanga said that every parcel of land in Wells Estate is zoned for a different purpose and as such, the Municipality would jeopardize its long-term housing development strategy if it allows land invasion.

"Our responsibility as the Municipality is to ensure that we prioritise legitimate housing beneficiaries in our housing list and to rid the system of any fraudulent activities and prejucidial 'queue jumping', which has been declared unlawfull by the Constitutional Court. 

"Ward 29 has been identified for human settlement and the Municipality currently developing the area," he said.

"Therefore, the Deputy Executive Mayor seems to have exposed himself as someone who disregards proper Municipal and legal processes and is apparently undermining our long-term turnaround strategy as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. 

"This is really regrettable."