PORT ELIZABETH – United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa came out guns blazing on Wednesday in support of Nelson Mandela Bay Deputy Mayor, Mongameli Bobani who has been axed from the position of Mayoral Committee Member heading the public health portfolio.
Bobani was recalled on Tuesday by Executive Mayor Athol Trollip who said the public health directorate had been a concern for a number of months, citing allegations of maladministration which were being investigated internally.
Trollip also said that the process to have Bobani removed as the deputy mayor would be pursued through a motion at council, adding that situation had just become “untenable”.
The move follows months of simmering tension between the two who have been at loggerheads over a series of issues around governance and staff appointments.
Trollip said the decision to remove Bobani had been coming for quite some time, adding that there was instability in the coalition because of “Bobani’s behaviour”.
Holomisa undermined Trollip for removing Bobani from the Mayoral Committee team and basically accused him of making a decision without consensus.
“The whole exercise is just wrong. Trollip acted unilaterally, this is only his side of the story. Bobani did not stand trial, but he [Trollip] gave a judgement, we have rejected the removal of Bobani from the MayCo,” said Holomisa.
Holomisa said that it had been decided that coalition partners would meet but a date has yet to be confirmed.
“We must hear both sides of the story, based on evidence. Trollip decided this unilaterally, we are not farm workers here, we are in politics and we want fairness,” Holomisa told ANA.
“He [Trollip] cannot say that he is the boss, they didn’t win the elections. If Bobani was wrong, give that evidence. If Trollip is wrong the DA must discipline him.”
Meanwhile, Bobani was sceptical that he would be removed as deputy mayor in the Bay -- he was elected to the position by a full council and can only be removed if that same council decides otherwise.
“How is that going to be successful? They [the DA] have 57 councillors, the DA is in power because of a coalition.”
He also dismissed allegations of maladministration within the public health directorate adding that he was most proud of the work done in the last few months.
“The department is a super department, we have done the best work within the last 8 months and we created 450 temporary jobs. I am so proud of that department we have done more than what the ANC [African National Congress] did with it in 23 years,” said Bobani.
“I am wondering where is the corruption? Bring me the proof. Did you report this to the police? How far is the investigation? The mayor can’t bring the proof. All I know is that 3 officials were suspended but have not been charged.”
While the Nelson Mandela Bay coalition government appears to be in shambles, the UDM say that the party has not withdrawn its stake.
African News Agency