Mongameli Bobani backtracks on remarks

This after new NMB mayor said entire budget would be allocated to townships in next financial year

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Bobani backtracks on controversial budget remarks

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Mongameli Bobani, who is from the UDM, said he was merely calling the DA's bluff when he said the entire budget would be allocated to the townships in the next financial year.

Last week, Bobani made a controversial pronouncement at an Integrated Development Plan meeting at the Nangoza Jebe Hall. It was captured on video: "We are in charge now, and [for] this coming budget process. We're not talking about the previous budget, of which we have no idea how it was even passed, because we tried to stop it.

"We were saying that 80% of the money must come to you and they can get 20% - now we are going to take all of it," he said.

However, he has since contextualised his comments.

"It is my considered view that local governments exist for the purpose of providing basic services equally to all residents. Service delivery should always be improving, and excellent service delivery is my administration's goal," Bobani said.

He claimed then DA urged suburban taxpayers to stop paying their rates after it lost the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.

"My comment was merely made to call their bluff. The City needs its ratepayers to be vigilant in paying their dues," Bobani said.

"I assure ratepayers that their money will be used strictly in accordance with the approved budget."

Last month, the DA's Athol Trollip was removed as mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay and the UDM's Bobani was elected in his place.

Bobani was previously ousted from his position as deputy mayor following a rift with Trollip.

The DA is currently challenging Trollip's ousting and Bobani's election in court.

Judgment has been reserved.