UDM to pull out of NMB coalition unless Bobani is reinstated

Bantu Holomisa delivers ultimatum in a letter to coalition partners

Port Elizabeth - The United Democratic Movement (UDM) will pull out of its coalition in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro unless ousted deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani is reinstated by Monday.

Bobani was voted out following a controversial vote of no confidence in the city council on Thursday.

The motion was brought by Patriotic Alliance (PA) member Marlon Daniels and seconded by DA leader Nqaba Bhanga following DA assertions that Bobani was "corrupt".

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa dropped a bombshell on Thursday, delivering the ultimatum in a letter to coalition partners, which includes the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People and the Freedom Front Plus.

"The DA has gone rogue in the worst manner possible," Holomisa said in the letter addressed to the four parties.

"Going to the media and saying that the UDM tolerates corruption is tantamount to defamation. Making these damaging statements about the UDM in the media is also in contravention of the Co-governance Agreement. Why must we tolerate this?"

Holomisa accused the DA of double standards and dirty tricks, as the coalition's investigation had also implicated Mayor Athol Trollip, he claimed.

The coalition's conflict resolution mechanism was not being followed either, and that the DA was acting like "big brother".

"The DA seems to think that it is above those decisions and want to unilaterally force the UDM to comply. Why is the DA not taking action against councillor Trollip? This is a double standard."

The UDM also took a "dim view" to the PA bringing the motion, saying it is outside the co-governance agreement.

Immediate effect

"Is the PA being swallowed by the DA? How can councillor Daniels, who is not a coalition partner, be aware or have information about the allegations that councillor Bobani is destabilising the coalition?"

He said the DA has been on record as not wanting to be dictated to by the Economic Freedom Fighters in Johannesburg, but were hypocritical in trying to dictate to the UDM in Nelson Mandela Bay.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane had only provided them with the report of Bobani's alleged corruption on Wednesday, which has yet to show evidence, he claimed.

"The UDM NEC decided that should these matters not be put to rest once and for all, the UDM will review its decision to be part of the NMBMM coalition.

"In light of the DA’s stance, we have no option but to inform you that the decision of the UDM’s NEC must be put into immediate effect. In other words, if Bobani is not reinstated to his position by August 28, the UDM will pull out."

The DA meanwhile welcomed Bobani's ousting on Thursday, saying the motion was supported by coalition partners the ACDP and COPE.

"Mr Bobani has been a destructive element in the coalition, and his actions have served to undermine service delivery, most especially to the poorest and most vulnerable communities," DA federal chairperson James Selfe said.

"He has voted with the ANC on a number of occasions, conduct which is simply unacceptable and not in line with our coalition agreement."

Selfe said Bobani still needed to face the consequences of serious allegations of irregular expenditure, fraud and corruption that allegedly took place in the directorate for which he was previously responsible.

"As such, we have had to support this motion against Mr Bobani so that we could continue prioritising service delivery which the people of Nelson Mandela Bay metro desperately need."

They could not be distracted by "self-serving people" who were compromising the project of clean and efficient governance, he finished.