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'That's wishful thinking': Trollip and Bobani allay rumours DA-led coalition about to implode

Jan 26, 2017
'That's wishful thinking': Trollip and Bobani allay rumours DA-led coalition about to implode

It's just mere differences of opinion. That was the message from Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, and his Deputy, Mongameli Bobani, as they sought to allay reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led coalition that ousted the African National Congress (ANC) in last year's Local Government Elections is now itself about to implode.

Trollip and Bobani were doing damage control after the failure and postponement of a special council meeting that, among other important issues, sought to deliberate on an order by the Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Fikile Xasa, that the Metro withdraws the appointment of Municipal Manager, Johann Mettler.

"It's just differences in opinion with our coalition partner," Trollip told reporters; "... we will obviously renegotiate with our partner... the coalition government in the city remains committed to taking the Metro forward."

The Mayor is understood to be against withdrawing Mettler's appointment while Bobani is understood to be of the same sentiment as the MEC.

Mettler formally began his duties as Acting Municipal Manager at the Metro in December 2015 and was expected to be in that post for the following three months. 

In October 2016, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality announced the appointment of Vuyo Mlokoti to take over from Mettler.

However, Council was forced to recall that decision after it was discovered that Mlokoti had withheld important information about the early termination of his contract with his previous employer, the South African State Information Technology Agency (Sita).

Mettler was then re-appointed as Municipal Manager.

Bobani told reporters that the United Democratic Movement (UDM) does feel that proper procedures were not followed in the appointment of Mettler.

But to say the coalition had collapsed is "wishful thinking", the Mayor said.

"The coalition is still there. I know the ANC is calling a press conference on a 'collapse of the coalition' it is not like that," he said.

Bobani agreed; "I won't say this is the first crack of the coalition; it's the differences of opinion, which is actually in the coalition agreement. The coalition is still there, we are going to disagree from time to time."

He told reporters that Trollip is still the Mayor and he is still his Deputy, but the UDM is not going to lose its identity in the coalition.

"We will continue to sit together and have meetings until both our national leadership decide otherwise."

Bobani however, said that they want the position to be re-advertised, as ordered by Xasa, adding that the UDM will not support anything that is tantamount to corruption.

"This issue can be resolved; we are bound by the Systems Act and we are not above the law."

As a result of the postponement of Thursday's meeting, two other important issues - the 2015/16 Annual Report and the 2016/17 Mid-term report, ended up not being discussed, Trollip told reporters.

The ANC boycotted the council meeting.