NMB coalition takes another blow as deputy mayor lays charges

2017-04-26 16:43
Mandela Bay Deputy Mayor Mongameli Bobani lays charges at Humewood Police Station. (Derrick Spies, News24)

Mandela Bay Deputy Mayor Mongameli Bobani lays charges at Humewood Police Station. (Derrick Spies, News24)

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Port Elizabeth - The coalition government of Nelson Mandela Bay appears to be in tatters after deputy mayor, Mongameli Bobani, laid charges of fraud and corruption against the city manager, Johann Metler, and acting executive director of corporate services, Vuyo Zitumane on Wednesday morning.

Speaking outside the Humewood Police Station, where he had opened the cases, Bobani said the charges also had the potential to implicate Mayor Athol Trollip.

Asked if he thought the coalition was still intact, Bobani said it was at an all-time low.

"I don't know what is going to happen with the coalition in the next coming days, I am also interested to know," he said.

"The DA doesn't want to accept that they are not in power; they do not want to accept that they are in a coalition," he said.

Defamation

Bobani, who boycotted the first council meeting in January because he did not approve of Zitumane or Mettler's appointment, said he did not have a vendetta against them.

However, tensions have been mounting between the three, especially between Bobani and Zitumane, with Zitumane suing him for R500 000 in damages.

In a letter dated April 12 from Zitumane's legal representative, attorney Gerald Friedman, which came to light on Tuesday, Bobani is accused of saying Zitumane was corrupt on at least five occasions between January and March.

"You have made these allegations without regard to Mrs Zitumane's integrity, which you are prepared to sacrifice for political expediency, despite the fact that you know that these allegations are unfounded, disgraceful and untrue," the letter said.

Zitumane was seconded to the municipality by the department of co-operative governance toward the end of 2015 on a fixed-term contract.

Bobani said he was in a hurry to have both Mettler and Zitumane suspended.

"I am still the deputy executive mayor; he is still the mayor, but I am looking forward to the next council meeting because I am in a hurry to remove these officials," he said.

Cases opened

Bobani said he had opened four cases relating to millions of rand which had been signed off by either Mettler or Zitumane. These were:

  • The illegal hacking of a municipal server by an unregistered service provider that was allegedly appointed through dubious processes
  • An alleged dubious appointment of a service provider appointed to implement MSCOA
  • Appointment of an ICT equipment company by Corporate Services
  • An alleged Mohlaleng Media contract extension

Bobani refused to go into the details of the cases, saying it was now up to police officials to investigate the matter.

Tensions

Bobani said he had attended a mayoral committee meeting earlier on Wednesday and had sat down next to Trollip, who had then promptly adjourned the meeting.

"Maybe I am too ugly for him to see me, or I am stinking," he said.

Bobani also accused Trollip of deliberately not inviting him to Monday's press conference on corruption and again accused Trollip of running the municipality like a farm.

"The racism is there. This man doesn't want to sort this matter out. There is racism there and as the UDM I am not going to let that happen," he said.

Bobani also took a swipe at Trollip's chief of staff, Kristoff Adelbert.

"I must employ a chief of staff in my own office. He has a chief of staff who is a DJ; he is just a DJ, he doesn't have experience of government. I don't know if he thinks he is the municipal manager or the mayor," he said.

Read more on:    da  |  udm  |  athol trollip  |  port elizabeth  |  politics

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