The United Democratic Movement has issued its Nelson Mandela Bay councillor, Mongameli Bobani, with a final notice and threatened to recall him over his behaviour in the council last month.
Bobani was taken to task after Congress of the People (COPE) MP Deidre Carter approached UDM leader Bantu Holomisa.
Bobani assaulted her during a confrontation at the back of the council chamber during the Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting. The confrontation apparently began when Bobani started swearing at chief of staff Kristoff Adelbert.
Carter said she stood and asked Bobani to calm down. He grabbed her and used his shoulder to knock her.
In a separate incident, Bobani taunted Mayor Athol Trollip, gestured in front of him and asked him to shake his hand.
Bobani responded to his party and apologised for his behaviour to Carter, but he said he would not apologise for taunting Trollip.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Holomisa said the UDM looked into what had happened and that the UDM’s National Office Management Committee had written to Bobani and given him a final warning to moderate his behaviour.
Holomisa’s tweet came at the same time that the second sitting of the special meeting to remove Trollip took place.
The meeting again descended into chaos, but Bobani was notably quiet.
In correspondence to Bobani, written by UDM secretary general Bongani Msomi, it was made clear that the councillor’s antics were not in line with the code of ethics, conduct and obligations of UDM public representatives.
Addressing the incident involving Carter, Msomi acknowledged Bobani’s apology, but said the party did not condone his behaviour.
“The UDM does not condone any form of violence (verbal and/or physical) committed against women. We therefore condemn what had happened in the strongest possible terms. The NOMC (National Office Management Committee) also wishes to express, on behalf of the party, an apology to Ms Carter and the Congress of the People,” he said.
Msomi pointed out that the UDM had contacted Bobani on numerous occasions regarding his conduct.
“We find it disconcerting that your relationship with Trollip has degenerated so much that neither of you have been handling this very sensitive situation to the best of your abilities. You will agree that, despite one’s personal feelings, there still should be decorum displayed by all the participants in the chamber,” Msomi said.
“The NOMC takes a dim view of the way you conducted yourself at council meeting of the 29th of March.
“You must, however, at all times (whether in chamber or not), preserve the UDM’s vision, mission, values, dignity and image,” Msomi wrote.
Holomisa had warned Bobani to behave
Msomi went on to say that Holomisa had contacted Bobani and had asked him to tone down his behaviour.
“This matter is specifically critical, as the UDM President phoned you, during that meeting to warn and instruct that you should tone down and not let your emotions get the better of you.
“What happened that day, even if it might have been provoked or orchestrated, is not the way the UDM public representatives conduct themselves – we cannot afford to ever again repeat this embarrassing situation!”
Msomi said the UDM’s NOMC urged Bobani to adopt a new style of speaking to, and communicating with his council colleagues, the media and the public.
“The NOMC resolved that you should henceforth consult with my office as well as the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee on a regular basis, especially in critical circumstances or in crises.”
Bobani was also instructed to share all council documentation, such as memos, agendas and minutes, with Msomi.
“Finally, this is the last opportunity you will be given to change your behaviour and modus operandi, failing which, the UDM will automatically recall you and institute disciplinary measures,” he wrote.
“There certainly are better ways to register your dissatisfaction with any council process, especially when you disagree during the debate and/or to register (and have minuted) the UDM’s position.
“Henceforth, when you wish to join the debate, raise your hand and do not shout when presenting your case.”