DA, coalition partners move to oust UDM after 'betrayal'
The DA and its coalition partners have made the first move in severing ties with the United Democratic Movement (UDM) following its "betrayal" this week.
The DA and its coalition partners, which include the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Congress of the People (Cope) and the Freedom Front Plus, have collectively written a letter to UDM leader Bantu Holomisa calling on the coalition partner's president to motivate why his party should remain part of the coalition agreement.
This follows a tumultuous week that started off with the removal of the DA's Jonathan Lawack as speaker in the Nelson Mandela Bay council on Monday, followed just hours later by the ousting of Mayor Athol Trollip.
Trollip was replaced just moments later with the UDM's Mongameli Bobani, who has for months been at loggerheads with Trollip.
Bobani was removed as deputy mayor last year via a motion of
no confidence sponsored by the DA, which had labelled him as corrupt. The UDM
closed ranks around Bobani and went to war with the DA, making the cracks in
the coalition evident just a year after the interparty agreement was made
following the 2016 local government elections.
The DA has lodged court papers challenging Trollip's ouster.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has for months been calling for Trollip's head, saying he is the blue-eyed boy of the DA because he is white and that he is "arrogant". EFF leader Julius Malema said in removing Trollip his party would be "cutting the throat of whiteness".
Letter to Holomisa
City Press has learnt that leaders of the coalition partners met in Pretoria on Friday, where the resolution was taken to write to Holomisa.
The DA was represented by party leader Mmusi Maimane, Cope by leader Mosiuoa Lekota, the ACDP by chairperson Jo-Ann Downs and the Freedom Front Plus by chairperson Anton Alberts.
In the letter to Holomisa, the party leaders lament "serious concern" of the ongoing "defiant role" played by the UDM in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The letter outlines the commitments made by the coalition partners when they formalised their cooperation following the local government elections. These include transparency and a commitment to fighting corruption
"In the context of these non-negotiable commitments it has become evident that the UDM in Nelson Mandela Bay, and in particular councillor (and former deputy mayor) Mongameli Bobani, has acted in contravention of this agreement," the letter reads.
"The [Nelson Mandela Bay] council has been paralysed by the obstructive actions of councillor Bobani as he repeatedly voted with the opposition to frustrate processes and stall service delivery. This has been a subject of an investigation headed by a panel that the coalition has put together.
"This culminated in the UDM's support for baseless motions brought by the opposition in the metro to remove both the speaker and the mayor, effectively attempting to hand [Nelson Mandela Bay] back to the ANC that destroyed the city through two decades of corruption and maladministration.
"In light of these actions, it is crucial for us to ascertain as to whether the UDM still wishes to form part of the coalition and the multiparty coalition governments."
Holomisa is called upon to give reasons for the UDM's "perceived persistent contravention" of the co-governance agreement, in writing to the coalition partners by this Wednesday.
'I don't take nonsense from anyone' – Holomisa
Holomisa said he did not give a hoot about a letter from the other parties.
"I haven't received that letter, but irrespective of that, why are they behaving as if they are drunk? That letter will go the dustbin, I couldn't care less. It is them who chased away Bobani long ago. What were they expecting? The days of baaskap mentality are over. I don't take nonsense from anyone. They can take whatever decision the want to take."
Meanwhile in Tshwane, where the coalition partners govern, led by the DA, Mayor Solly Msimanga narrowly averted his own removal on Thursday.
Msimanga has been a target of the EFF following a series of blunders around appointments in his office and recently his call for an investigation into the conduct of embattled city manager Moeketsi Mosola.
The EFF-sponsored motion of no confidence failed to
materialise on Thursday when the speaker of the council refused to allow the
motion on procedural grounds, leading to the EFF staging a walk-out.
The EFF's exit foiled the ANC's identical motion when council failed to reach quorum.
The EFF is now seeking legal opinion on whether or not to challenge the ruling that the motion was procedurally flawed.
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