Under fire: Bantu Holomisa, leader of the UDM, is accused of not giving Lebashe and Harith an opportunity to defend themselves before he sent his letter with fresh allegations to President Cyril Ramaphosa demanding a probe into the PIC. Picture: LULAMILE FENI/DAILY DISPATCH
Under fire: Bantu Holomisa, leader of the UDM, is accused of not giving Lebashe and Harith an opportunity to defend themselves before he sent his letter with fresh allegations to President Cyril Ramaphosa demanding a probe into the PIC. Picture: LULAMILE FENI/DAILY DISPATCH

The official coalition partners want the United Democratic Movement (UDM) to remain part of the deal reached after the 2016 local elections to form governments in hung councils.

A meeting was held on Thursday in Cape Town between the DA, the Freedom Front Plus, Congress of the People (Cope) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) on the UDM’s role in the coalition.

The national coalition took immense strain after the UDM teamed up with the ANC and EFF in Nelson Mandela Bay last week to oust the DA’s Athol Trollip as mayor. The UDM’s Mongameli Bobani was voted in as mayor the same day.

Keeping the UDM in the coalition is crucial, especially in Nelson Mandela Bay, as it makes the difference between the coalition governing with a narrow majority, or handing the metro to the ANC.

The working agreement between the coalition partners is also seen to be important ahead of the 2019 national elections, when coalitions may be crucial as opposition parties hope to push the ANC below 50% of the vote, especially in SA’s economic centre Gauteng.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, however, did not attend Thursday’s meeting. He said in a letter to the coalition partners that the onus was on them to convince the UDM to remain in "what has turned out to be nothing else but a coalition of thugs and liars".

It is understood, from two people with knowledge of the meeting, that the consensus between the rest of the partners was that they wanted the UDM to remain part of the agreement. Some believed the disagreements between the parties could be ironed out.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Holomisa must "come and deliberate on the issue. It does not change the fact that he is in a coalition with the ANC and the EFF. So this is about the maturity required to sit in a room rather than insult leaders in the media."

It is understood that a letter will now be sent to Holomisa to request a meeting to discuss the issue in person.

Meanwhile, the Treasury has written to Nelson Mandela Bay’s city manager Johann Mettler for details following media reports that some councillors have tried to interfere in tenders and jobs in the city.

The Herald reported that senior managers were instructed by their political heads to place a moratorium on the filling of vacancies and tenders.

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