Holomisa wants talks as Nelson Mandela Bay coalition at risk
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says the “unilateral” decision to remove Nelson Mandela Bay deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani as the member of the mayoral council for public health must be referred to a multiparty forum.
This is so the parties in the metro’s coalition government can deal with the accusations against Bobani, who is a UDM member.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s DA mayor, Athol Trollip, announced on Tuesday that he was removing Bobani from his mayoral council position.
DA federal executive chairman James Selfe had earlier written to Holomisa saying that if the UDM did not fire or redeploy Bobani, the DA would use its majority on the council to oust him.
Bobani’s removal follows months of escalating tension between him and Trollip, who have differed on almost everything.
Holomisa said on Wednesday that the UDM was still in a coalition with the DA, but was merely addressing a dispute in line with the coalition agreement.
“We are still committed to the coalition, and if the DA is committed to the coalition, then we must follow the dispute resolution mechanism that we signed,” Holomisa said.
A multiparty coalition government took power in Nelson Mandela Bay after no single party won the majority of votes during the local municipal elections in August 2016.
An official coalition was formed between the DA, the UDM, Congress of the People (COPE), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), and the Freedom Front Plus after elections in which the ANC lost majorities in several municipalities and metros.
Selfe sent the letter to Holomisa on May 12. The UDM leader said he responded in writing to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, asking for the multiparty forum to deal with the dispute.
“We said we are declaring a dispute — not a conflict of interest, declaring a dispute. So in terms of our agreement, if there is no solution at local government level, the matter should be parachuted straight to the multi-coalition forum,” Holomisa said.
He said Maimane responded to his letter after 8pm on Tuesday, after Bobani had already been recalled.
According to Holomisa, Maimane had no objection to the meeting.
The UDM, ACDP, COPE and the FF Plus agreed the meeting must take place, he said, and the next step was merely setting a date.
Hololmisa said the current process must be followed by the other coalition partners.
“They are co-governing. It is in their interest as well to get involved. So we will wait to hear the date of the meeting.”
The developments come after numerous spats between Trollip and Bobani.
UDM and DA national leaders’ attempts to intervene have been in vein. Bobani has since opened cases of fraud with the police against Trollip and senior municipal officials.
In his letter to Holomisa‚ Selfe details a number of damning allegations to support the view that Bobani should be elbowed out. These include:
• That Bobani owes money to a sound equipment service provider;
• Bobani’s failure to produce proof for his claim that he is a qualified lawyer;
• He has burnt all bridges in the coalition;
• He opposes everything that the mayoral committee collectively agrees on;
• He has been colluding with Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen to block a pay package for metro head of corporate services Vuyo Zitumane; and
• He has been a champion of disgraced individuals and contractors.
"The DM [deputy executive mayor] has also lied about the installation and use of the blue lights on his car‚" Selfe said‚ adding that Bobani had agreed with Trollip that he would not install or use blue lights‚ in line with provisions of the coalition agreement.
Selfe’s letter to Holomisa follows a letter‚ dated May 9‚ in which Trollip wrote to DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Holomisa complaining about Bobani’s conduct.
"It would appear that despite all my previous correspondence and objections about councillor Bobani’s behaviour‚ it seems to go from bad to worse‚" part of his letter reads.