POLITICS

Will The UDM Remain In The DA Coalition? We May Know By The End Of Today

In a statement by the DA’s James Selfe, the party claimed UDM leader Bantu Holomisa had committed to remaining in the coalition.

28/08/2017 14:00 SAST | Updated 28/08/2017 14:01 SAST
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Nelson Mandela Bay deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani (grey blazer).

The United Democratic Movement will remain in coalition with the Democratic Alliance in the hotly contested Nelson Mandela Bay metro, but it will not back down on the spat over deputy mayor, Mongameli Bobani.

In a statement by the DA's James Selfe, the party claimed UDM leader Bantu Holomisa had committed to remaining in the coalition.

"The DA welcomes the apparent commitment from [Holomisa] that the UDM will remain in the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) coalition," he said.

Watch: On The Rocks: Nelson Mandela Bay Coalition Under Pressure

Selfe said that the party is however "concerned" with Holomisa's intention to approach a court to reverse Bobani's removal as deputy mayor following a motion of no confidence.

"When we say we have a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, we mean it, and we cannot have someone in our government who is ambivalent about corruption," Selfe said.

"We therefore [Holomisa] to not waste any further time, to put the interests of the residents of the metro first and to nominate a new UDM councillor to take Bobani's place in the government."

'The DA must return Bobani on Monday or else we pull out'
However, in an interview with HuffPost SA on Monday, Holomisa was ambiguous on whether he will remain true to the threats he made last week to pull out of the coalition by close of business on Monday.

"I issued a statement which says the DA must return Bobani on Monday or else we pull out. The DA responded immediately saying we are not going to," he said.

"When we said to the DA they must reinstate Bobani, it meant we are still committed to the coalition, but now they are refusing. We want to demonstrate to the DA and the Port Elizabeth people that UDM is committed to the coalition, hence we said DA must reinstate Bobani."

He said the UDM are heading to court to prove to the DA that they took the decision to remove Bobani "wrongly" because they allegedly did not follow the rules in the municipality.

"We are challenging that process," Holomisa said.

'Openly voted with ANC'
Bobani was sacked after a controversial vote of no confidence in the city council on Thursday. This led his party on a rampage with Holomisa issuing an ultimatum that if Bobani is not reinstated by August 28, the party would pull out of the coalition.

In a responding letter to Holomisa, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Bobani was voted out -- a motion which was supported by the coalition's other two members, the Congress Of The People and the African Christian Democratic Party -- because he openly voted with the African National Congress in council meetings.

The opposition leader claimed that two separate forensic reports by independent auditing firms found serious prima-facie evidence of maladministration, fraud, and tender irregularities involving departments directly under Bobani.

Holomisa announced at the weekend that his party would now institute court proceedings to seek intervention on the matter.