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Athol Trollip threatens Nelson Mandela Bay coalition after firing deputy

The decision to remove deputy Mongameli Bobani could have far-reaching implications for the Nelson Mandela Bay coalition


Athol Trollip. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip bit the bullet on Wednesday and removed his deputy Mongameli Bobani from the mayoral committee.
Bobani, the city’s member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for public health, is from the United Democratic Movement (UDM), a party with which the DA is in coalition.
The decision to remove Bobani could have far-reaching implications for the coalition that has been running the city since the August municipal elections.
It looked as if the DA was calling the UDM’s bluff, analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana said. The DA could ask the EFF to extend the two parties’ working agreement in Nelson Mandela Bay if the DA’s coalition partner pulled out of the partnership.
The DA holds 57 seats out of the 120 seats in the council. For a majority, it would need 61 seats. The EFF has six seats, which it could use to vote with the DA. The UDM has two seats, while Congress of the People (COPE) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) hold one seat each.

Trollip recalled Bobani on Tuesday after months of escalating tension between the two men, in which they differed on almost everything.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said on Wednesday the "unilateral" decision to remove Bobani had been referred to the multiparty forum made up of the coalition partners.
This had to be done so that they could deal with the accusations made against Bobani, who is a UDM member, and the counteraccusations against Trollip, Holomisa said.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in a letter to Holomisa on Tuesday he was not opposed to the meeting. Holomisa said the UDM, ACDP, Cope and the FF Plus had all agreed that the meeting had to take place.
Trollip said on Wednesday the situation was "not ideal" as the coalition partnership was an historic opportunity to show SA how different parties could co-operate and get the job done.
"Unfortunately, the UDM leadership, whatever reason they have, have chosen to put the interest of one individual above the interest of all the people who voted for this coalition."
Trollip claimed the issues with Bobani had been there for the past four-and-a-half months and the UDM had not acted.
If Bobani had been held to account by his own party for his "bizarre behaviour, we [would] not be in the situation in which we are in", he said.
The next council meeting is expected to be held on Tuesday, but Trollip said the removal of Bobani as deputy mayor was not yet on the agenda.
COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota and ACDP leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe agreed that a multiparty forum had to be held on an urgent basis. Lekota said parties would have to wait to be briefed on the issue.
‘It is difficult to say whether the NMB coalition itself is at risk but their relationship is spiralling for all the wrong reasons’

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