Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani has backtracked on his remarks calling for a halt to all service delivery to the municipalities affluent areas according to News24.
Last week Bobani was caught on video declaring that the more affluent areas should get nothing. He further stated that if his deputy, Andile Lungisa, got complains about sewage problems he would instruct Lungisa to ignore them.
Bobani now claims he was simply calling the DA’s bluff on a potential rates boycott.
According to the Citizen the DA denied having any plans whatsoever to call on the people of the municipality to stop paying their rates and taxes.
“Bobani is now trying to escape blame by dragging the DA into this. We challenge Bobani to provide proof that the DA called on residents to refrain from paying rates and taxes,” DA Eastern Cape provincial chairperson Andrew Whitfield said.
In the 2016 municipal elections the UDM achieved a grand total of 1.91% of the vote. Bobani managed to become mayor of the city despite his party coming in fourth, behind the DA, ANC and EFF respectively.
Up until recently the mayor was the DA’s Athol Trollip, who won the most votes. However the DA didn’t win enough seats to govern with a clear majority, so a coalition had to be formed between it and the smaller parties.
This coalition collapsed when the DA didn’t support the EFF’s position on an amendment to the constitution expanding government’s ability to expropriate land without compensation. Trollip was the first mayor on the EFF’s chopping block explicitly due to him being white.
However the EFF wasn’t going to support an ANC mayor, and the ANC wasn’t going to support an EFF one, so eventually the parties settled on Bobani – despite the fact that the DA sacked him as deputy over how badly run his departments were, and he was otherwise known for assaulting Cope MP Diedre Carter.
A long time ago, my family and I lived in a block of flats. It was the first property my mother owned, and it was a pretty nice place.
She ended up as the chairwoman on the body corporate. She says it is something she will never do again, as being on a body corporate is for masochists who get off on tedium and dealing with petty complaints.
Anyway after she got out of that, a few of our neighbours commented on how she was strange in that she ran the whole thing not to benefit our family particularly, but the whole block. She genuinely approached it as being about making the building nice for everyone.
That to me is how a government should be – about looking after everyone, not about getting petty revenge or going on a power trip.
Bobani however is very clearly engaged in a different kind of approach. I don’t for one second believe him when he claims he was calling the DA’s bluff on anything.
I think that he was looking for a bit of revenge now that he had gained power.
It is an understandable emotion. The real genesis to his conflict with the DA started in 2015 when DA Councillor Chris Roberts called him “Councillor Baboon.”
Roberts was fined R10k and demotated as party whip in the council in 2016 according to IOL.
Bobani was made Athol Trollip’s deputy after the DA formed a coalition with smaller parties to lead the metro in 2016.
Bobani probably hadn’t forgotten about the whole “baboon” saga when he was sacked over alleged maladministration in the departments he ran in 2017, particular when it arose in 2018 that the report on that alleged maladministration hadn’t named Bobani once.
It is very understandable why Bobani would be deeply angry, though that is no excuse for his treatment of Cope’s Deidre Carter.
The trouble is vengeance is not a good emotion to carry into a government. Government is there to rule for everyone. It is the sort of thing where one has to be able to put aside one’s personal grudges and run things for the benefit of all.
That is an awesomely difficult thing to do. Go look at before and after pictures of US presidents – and you can see how it ages a person. Government is the worst job in the world, unless you’re the precise sort of person who shouldn’t be in government.
At the end of the day who runs the government shouldn’t really matter that much, what matters is that the government does this incredibly hard job of governing for everyone – and when the mayor says he will purposely neglect part of his community? That’s not a good look.
Particularly if that mayor cannot claim to have been anything like democratically elected. Bobani’s role right now is as a caretaker until a real mayor is elected in the next municipal elections.
If he runs with his rage, that won’t be him. The EFF are uneasy allies for anyone, and the ANC are looking to take back the municipality themselves. If Bobani wants to remain as mayor he has to demonstrate that he can put the metro before his personal emotional issues.
And that is not what I’m seeing in that video.