Port Elizabeth – The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has proposed that DA councillor Chris Roberts be axed from the council for calling a colleague in the UDM a “bobbejaan” (baboon).
“Following an exhaustive internal investigation led by Speaker of council, councillor Maria Hermans, a guilty verdict was reached,” municipality spokesperson Kupido Baron said.
“Following the judgement, veteran ANC councillor Fikile Desi emotionally proposed a motion that Roberts should not be allowed to serve as a public representative in council anymore.”
The motion was proposed on Thursday during the councils first sitting of the year.
Baron said the motion was supported by all opposition parties except the Democratic Alliance.
A total of 69 councillors voted in favour of the motion and 42 against.
Local government and traditional affairs MEC Fikile Xasa would take the council’s decision under advisement and make a final decision.
Last week, the DA said it had fined Roberts R10 000 following the incident.
He was also ordered to step down as party whip in the Nelson Mandela Bay caucus and was precluded from holding any leadership positions in the caucus.
Roberts called UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani a “bobbejaan” during a council debate on July 30 last year.
Baron said during an internal investigation into the matter, which was made up of a multi-party team, reviewed the minutes from the day and audio recording.
“They found that he did indeed say those works [bobbejaan].”
ANC councillors wore black to the council meeting on Thursday, as a statement against racism.
Chief whip of council Litho Suka said: “When one of us is called a baboon we also feel the pain that is why we have decided to wear black as ANC councillors.
“We do so as a symbol of protest against the humiliation the black people suffer at the hands of these… racists”
Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan also addressed the meeting.
“I want to pledge on my own behalf and on behalf of the mayoral committee that we will do everything possible to lead by example to build social cohesion and fight racism,” he was quoted as saying at the meeting.
“Racism is an abomination which has no place in our democratic society.”
Bobani last week said he was not happy with the DA’s decision to only fine Roberts and demote him from chief whip.
He accused the DA of not taking racism seriously.
But the DA’s James Selfe, chairperson of the party’s federal council, said a R10 000 fine was nowhere near a slap on the wrist.