The Democratic Alliance in Nelson Mandela Bay has begun to cast doubt on whether it would align with the United Democratic Movement (UDM) to form a coalition government in the metro as the party’s main player, Athol Trollip, appears to be unhappy to work with his arch-rival, Mongameli Bobani. Indications were that a marriage between the two parties may not happen – as the DA local leadership continued to reiterated their allegations that Bobani was corrupt. This is despite last week’s high-level negotiation involving UDM leader Major-General Bantu Holomisa, and head of the DA governance unit James Selfe about the…
The Democratic Alliance in Nelson Mandela Bay has begun to cast doubt on whether it would align with the United Democratic Movement (UDM) to form a coalition government in the metro as the party’s main player, Athol Trollip, appears to be unhappy to work with his arch-rival, Mongameli Bobani.
Indications were that a marriage between the two parties may not happen – as the DA local leadership continued to reiterated their allegations that Bobani was corrupt. This is despite last week’s high-level negotiation involving UDM leader Major-General Bantu Holomisa, and head of the DA governance unit James Selfe about the need to form a coalition in the metro.
But the UDM, which is a kingmaker in the metro, then seemed to be open to talking to both the DA and the ANC.
Holomisa later said the UDM had also been approached by the ANC and his party would hold talks with them.
Political analyst Ongama Mtimka was optimistic, saying the DA was in a better position to establish a coalition with the UDM if Bobani was excluded. He said the ANC itself was unable to form a coalition due to infighting and the fact that Bobani would reject the ANC after it plotted his ousting as mayor.
Trollip, the ousted former mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, had been uncompromising towards coalition talks with the UDM. In a tweet last week he said the “general”( referring to Holomisa) whom he called “party leader for life of the UDM” blocked him on social media.
“Holomisa doesn’t like to listen hence if you differ with him or challenge him he will block you. He is totally untrustworthy as is his corrupt crony Bobani,” Trollip tweeted.
Trollip’s comment could jeopardise the ongoing talks between the UDM and DA. However, Mtimka argued that the UDM would be a lesser evil for the DA than the ANC in establishing the coalition.
The analyst said the only thing that stood between the DA and UDM forming a coalition was Bobani. “Will the UDM be persuaded enough to drop Bobani and field someone else as mayoral candidate, or will the DA accept Bobani and give him a prominent position in the coalition government,” Mtimka asked.
The expert, who is based at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, said the previous DA-UDM cooperation failed because the clash of personalities between Trollip and Bobani. “Part of the failure was due to the personality fall-out between Bobani and Trollip, both have strong personalities and they pursued their personal objectives although they were in a coalition,” Mtimka said.
Trollip’s anti-Bobani stance was supported by a statement issued by the DA Eastern Cape provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga yesterday, in which he stated that while they wanted to establish a coalition government at Nelson Mandela Bay as they did after the 2016 local government election, the DA would was not prepared to work with corrupt individuals.
“The DA has made it abundantly clear that we will never work with corrupt individuals who put themselves ahead of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay, and that has not changed. We are not prepared to govern at all costs.
“At the heart of all our negotiations is the will to serve the people of Nelson Mandela Bay, to bring an end to the political instability that is crippling service delivery and get the City back on track,” Bhanga said in the statement.
The DA would only ever make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay. In the past, during the party’s tenure in a coalition government, it had proven its commitment to serving the people, he said.
“After taking over in 2016, we were able to turn a broken Nelson Mandela Bay around and save it from collapse. This would not have been possible had the DA not formed a coalition government and worked with the other parties who, at their core, wanted to put the people of Nelson Mandela Bay first and ensure that they received the services to which they are entitled,” Bhanga said.
He cited successes under the DA-led coalition, including going from deep in the red to a R2 billion budget surplus and achieving an AAA credit rating, and stopping R615 million worth of contracts and failures. But all that came to nought when what he termed a “corrupt cabal” that allegedly serviced their own interests even if it meant running the metro into the ground, was elected in 2018.
Bhanga alleged that under the new opposition coalition government, tender-related political killings increased, some projects were stopped including technology to fight gangsterism in the Northern Areas, chronic under-expenditure, and a water crisis allegedly brought about by Bobani’s refusal to sign a drought declaration.
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