Mongameli Bobani
Johannesburg - The United Democratic Movement has approached the courts in an effort to reverse councillor Mongameli Bobani’s removal as deputy mayor of the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay metro.

The party went the legal route following the DA’s failure to reverse the decision on Monday.

The UDM had threatened to pull out of the coalition agreement and seek legal remedy if the DA refused to reinstate Bobani to his influential position as the metro’s second citizen.

However, the UDM made a U-turn on Monday by not pulling out of the coalition although it went ahead with the court action.

UDM president General Bantu Holomisa had threatened to pull out “of that nonsense” if the council decision was not reversed.

In a turn of events Monday, DA Federal Council chairperson James Selfe said they welcomed Holomisa’s “apparent commitment” that the UDM would remain in the coalition governing the Eastern Cape’s largest metro, comprising Port Elizabeth, Despatch and the industrial town of Uitenhage.

Selfe said they were, however, concerned about Holomisa’s intention to approach the courts over the matter.

“One of the main purposes of forming coalition governments, in NMB and elsewhere, was to make a distinct break from the previous ANC administrations, which were ridden with corruption and maladministration,” said Selfe.

Bobani, who was ousted with 60 votes from the DA, ACDP, Cope and Patriotic Alliance, was accused of undermining the administration by voting with the ANC on numerous occasions.

The ANC and EFF walked out of the council chambers as voting on the no confidence motion was in progress.

Selfe urged Holomisa “not to waste any further time, to put the interests of the residents of the metro first and to nominate a new UDM councillor to take Mr Bobani’s place in the government”.

Holomisa told The Star the UDM had been committed to the coalition for some time, “and we are still committed”.

“To demonstrate our bona fides, we wrote to the DA to say they must reinstate Bobani because he was removed illegally by them, by flouting regulations and procedures of the municipality. They said they are not going to do that,” he said.

Holomisa, a former environment and tourism minister, said the UDM had approached the courts on Monday “for them (lawyers) to say the last word on how the Bobani matter was handled in the council”.

He said the DA, Speaker Jonathan Lawack and individual councillors in the council chambers last Thursday “are going to be cited in our papers”.

This was important because if legal costs were awarded, each councillor would be held responsible for costs, he said.

The UDM did not know how long the legal process would take.

Bobani had threatened that he would show up at work on Monday despite being removed as deputy mayor.

But when contacted Monday, he seemed to have done a U-turn, saying: “I’m not at work, we are busy our legal fundis said I must not go near my workplace until they have sorted out this matter.”

His municipal car had been taken away and his salary stopped as he was no longer deputy mayor, DA executive mayor Athol Trollip had told The Star.

The Star