The future of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) in the Nelson Mandela Bay Democratic Alliance (DA)-led coalition remains in limbo.
This as the relationship between DA Mayor, Athol Trollip and UDM Deputy Mayor Mongameli Bobani turns sour.
On Tuesday, Trollip removed Bobani from being the Political Head for Public Health in the Mayoral Committee, citing behavioural problems that go against DA principles.
Trollip also requested the UDM to replace Bobani.
The Democratic Alliance has concluded a coalition agreement to form a multi-party agreement in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The birth of the coalition between the DA, COPE, UDM and The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) in the metro followed the 2016’s municipal elections.
All that was left was the council to endorse the coalition and it’s confirmed that Athol Trollip is an elected Executive Mayor.
But it seems co-operation in the coalition did not last long. Four months later, Deputy Mayor Mongameli Bobani walked out of the council over disagreements between him and Mayor Athol Trollip on the appointment of City Manager and Corporate Affairs Director.
The two were called by their party leaders Bantu Holomisa and Mmusi Maimane and the impasse appeared to have been resolved but the reconciliation did not last long as Bobani publicly attacked Trollip.
Following an exchange of correspondence between the principals and a deadline to replace Bobani by midday on Tuesday, Trollip removed Bobani as the political head for the Public Health Portfolio, citing his uncontrollable behaviour.
Trollip has also threatened to mobilise for Bobani’s removal in the coalition by next week.
“I have tried everything in my power deal with all these issues that are in this file that have been given in chapter and verse to the UDM who have neglected and declined to take any action against councillors Bobani.
In frustration we have eventually given them a deadline because we are a party of accountability we are a party of government.
We need to set the example and i don’t believe we have been doing that with one of councillor, Bobani. And in fact he has gone against almost all of our coalition agreements and he votes against us in council.”
This has raised questions about the future of the UDM in the coalition. But UDM leader Bantu Holomisa insists that they are still part of the coalition.
“The United Democratic Movement is still part of the coalition at Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. I don’t know where Trollip gets that.
He should be justifying telling people why he has expelled Bobani in his cabinet as the deputy mayor.
We wrote a letter to Maimane three days ago asking for a meeting but he didn’t respond.
The response they gave us was to fire deputy mayor. So we are still there we are going to discuss the matter at our national level as well as at local government level.”
A council meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, when the future of Bobani in the coalition is likely to be decided.
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.”