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UDM goes to court over Bobani ouster as ultimatum to coalition expires

Aug 28, 2017
UDM goes to court over Bobani ouster as ultimatum to coalition expires

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is heading to court on Monday to seek a 'legal remedy' to the ousting of its councillor, Mongameli Bobani, as Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Deputy Mayor, in the Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition government through a no confidence vote on Thursday last week.

This after 60 councillors of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, at a dramatic Council Meeting on Thursday, voted to oust Bobani after months of tensions between him and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, the DA's Athol Trollip.

After the motion was tabled by Cllr Marlon Daniels, of the Patriotic Alliance, the African National Congress (ANC), the United Democratic Movement (UDM), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African Independent Congress (AIC), rose up and left the Council Chamber, Bobani in tow, and while chanting political songs and dancing.

The parties claimed that the DA-led coalition failed to put forth tangible evidence of Bobani's alleged wrong-doing that would warrant for his removal, besides the tensions between him and the Executive Mayor, the DA's Athol Trollip.

The EFF in an emotional speech said that the motion went against the spirit of the coalition and warned councillors that after Bobani is removed, the DA would seek to remove Cllrs from other parties from their council positions.

Through the walk out, the parties hoped to force a collapse of proceedings in the motion of no confidence.

Undettered, the DA, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Congress of the People (COPE) voted in the motion and with 60 votes - ousted Bobani as Deputy Executive Mayor,

UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa, by going to court, wants the DA to produce evidence of Bobani’s alleged corruption. 

This latest development comes after the UDM gave the DA until Monday (today) to reinstate Bobani or lose the UDM as a coalition partner. 

But the DA is sticking to its guns and on Friday said that it has noted with regret an ultimatum from Holomisa.

"The decision to move a motion of no confidence against the former deputy mayor of NMB, Mr Bobani, was not an easy one. Over the last 9 months, we have implored Mr Holomisa to redeploy Mr Bobani to another position. We have met with the UDM and other coalition partners endlessly about this matter – to no avail," said James Selfe MP - the DA Federal Council Chairperson.

"The reality is that the NMB coalition government has achieved much since being elected, in no small part due to our other coalition partners who have remained committed to our coalition agreement to zero tolerance for corruption."

He said that the former deputy mayor Bobani has been "a destructive member of this particular coalition, and his actions have served to undermine service delivery, most especially to the poorest and most vulnerable communities".

Selfe added that Bobani has voted with the ANC in the Council on a number of occasions, "conduct which is simply unacceptable and contrary to our coalition agreement".

"In addition to this, Mr Bobani still needs to answer serious allegations of irregular expenditure, fraud and corruption that allegedly took place in the directorate for which he was previously responsible - conduct which is inconsistent with our collective commitment to stopping corruption, improving service delivery and creating jobs," he said.

"The DA urges Mr Holomisa to now put the people of NMB first. These women and men voted to remove the ANC and replaced it with the coalition government. It is crucial that we do not let them down. Mr Holomisa must not prioritise Mr Bobani at the expense of the millions who have put their faith in the coalition government.

"We remain committed to working with the UDM and other coalition partners to deliver corruption-free and efficient government, not only where we currently co-govern, but towards 2019 and beyond."

The Congress of the People (COPE), which also voted for Bobani's ouster, on Friday called for calm "and time to resolve the current dispute at the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality".

"The national leadership of all parties that constitute the Multi Party Government have been seized with the issues affecting the stability and progress of the municipality. All leaders have expressed concern about allegations and counter allegations involving the Mayor and his Deputy and have sought to engage in a process to find a solution," said leader, Mosiuoa Lekota. 

"We do acknowledge that some of the mechanisms put in place may not have yielded the desired outcomes. We will need to time to engage all stakeholders with a view to making the Agreement workable. We strongly believe that this is achievable.

"The Multi Party Government is premised on the uncompromising principles of good governance and respect for the role of each stakeholder, among others. It was welcomed by the majority of the people of the Metro and they have accepted it as a solution to resolve some of the serious mess created by the corrupt predecessor."