Port Elizabeth – Former Nelson Mandela Bay deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani has finally filed papers in an urgent application seeking to have the motion of no confidence against him set aside.
The application lists 132 respondents, including the other 119 councillors of the municipality, as well as the speaker of the municipality, the city manager, and each political party that has representation on the council in Mandela Bay.
Bobani has asked the court, as a matter of urgency, to prevent the municipality from implementing the decision to have him removed during the council meeting last week, and that he be reinstated as deputy mayor.
Bobani has also asked that his strategic manager, executive support in his office, identified as Ms NN Nkomana, be reinstated.
Bobani said she had been fired and asked to vacate his office, despite having a contract that required a 30-day notice to be given.
Following the interim relief sought, Bobani has indicated that he will be seeking final relief in the form of having the motion of no confidence – brought by Patriotic Alliance councillor, Marlon Daniels – as well as the acceptance of the motion by speaker Jonathan Lawack and subsequent vote of no confidence, be declared as unconstitutional and unlawful.
Municipality will oppose the application
Executive Mayor Athol Trollip said, while he had not yet seen the papers, they stood by their position that the motion of no confidence was legitimate and would oppose the application.
“We believe that what we did was according to our rules,” he said.
“We know why we voted in a vote of no confidence against councillor Bobani. He has shown no commitment to our co-governance agreement,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned, he is the former deputy mayor and that is that.”
The Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape have also said they will defend the decision to vote in favour of the motion of no confidence against Bobani.
Meanwhile, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the UDM had brought the application to interdict and restrain the municipality from implementing the August 24 decision to remove Bobani; and to reinstate him.
“I trust that the high court will separate fact from fiction and that the honourable court will see through the DA’s politicking and identify the DA’s smear campaign against Bobani and the UDM,” he said.
Holomisa also questioned the validity of the motion of no confidence, saying most of the council members had not been present during the vote.
“The DA, claiming good governance at every turn, should have known better than to have proceeded with the motion; should know better than to defend the illicit decision to remove the deputy executive mayor.”
Holomisa said the motion of no confidence was both unreasonable and irrational because there were no factual or legal grounds for the removal of Bobani.
‘DA cannot manage coalitions’
He said Bobani had not been formally accused of any wrongdoing; had not been granted any opportunity to defend himself, or even to be heard on the alleged accusations of wrongdoing.
“In typical DA baasskap style, the DA ordered an acolyte, Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Marlon Daniels, won over with a mayoral committee seat, and unilaterally invited to join the coalition government, to table the motion is so insulting that more than half the councillors walked out in disgust while the DA speaker hastily counted remaining heads in an emptying chamber,” he said.
“As it is becoming all too evident that the DA cannot manage coalitions, the UDM will step up to strengthen the developing mechanics of coalition governance in the run-up to 2019, when coalition governance is expected to become the norm in the next chapter of South Africa’s maturing democracy.
“To this end, the UDM is seeking relief against DA intimidation in the high court, not because the UDM is belligerent, or annoyed, or insulted, but because the UDM is determined to expose the empty DA promise of working coalitions against corruption,” he said.
Also read: Holomisa has no case against us – Trollip
Respondents have until next week Friday (8 September) to file answering affidavits, with the UDM indicating they will then file their responding affidavits by the 14th.
A provisional date has been set down for the matter to e heard on the 19th of September.