Mongameli Bobani. Picture: MIKE HOLMES/THE HERALD
Mongameli Bobani. Picture: MIKE HOLMES/THE HERALD

Former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani died on Wednesday night of a Covid-19-related illness.

He had been on a ventilator at St George's Hospital for weeks after testing positive of the coronavirus.

Bobani was a municipal councillor from 2002 and for many years was the sole UDM representative.

He was elected deputy mayor in 2016 when the UDM formed a coalition government with the DA, COPE and the ACDP.

But as the relationship soured, he was instrumental in facilitating the removal of then-mayor Athol Trollip. He  succeeded Trollip as mayor in August 2018.

However, Bobani's tenure as mayor was short-lived. He was removed through a no-confidence motion in December 2019.

He was the mayoral committee member in charge of infrastructure, engineering and electricity at the time of his death.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said Bobani's death was a blow, not only to the party but also to the whole of Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.

“Bobani was a hard worker in the party and the municipality,” he said. “He built the UDM in that region — remember he was a UDM councillor for 17 years,” he said.

Acting mayor Thsonono Buyeye said Bobani still had a lot to offer the city. “We had always hoped he would make it,” he said. “We have lost a good man. It's a big loss”.

Eastern Cape DA leader Nqaba Bhanga said Bobani's death showed that Covid-19 is real. “We must all take precautions as we navigate though this Covid-19 period.”

ANC regional task team co-ordinator Luyolo Nqakula extended his condolences to Bobani’s family and the UDM, his political home. “The city is much poorer with this loss because comrade Bobani always ensured the politics of the metro were vibrant,” Nqakula said.

United Front regional chair Xolisile Peter said they were shocked by Bobani’s death. “Comrade Bobani played a big role in terms of unifying the black caucus in this metro. He had a real passion to serve black communities. “We pass our condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace,” he said, adding that when Bobani was removed as mayor, “we were the only organisation that stood with him”.

This is a developing story

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