UDM leader wants DA councillor investigated

2015-08-19 06:00

UDM local leader and councillor Mongameli Bobani has filed a formal complaint against DA councillor Chris Roberts with council speaker Maria Hermans.

This follows the DA’s confirmation that Roberts will be appearing before their federal legal commission about his alleged racial slur.

In his formal letter to the speaker, Bobani, who has asked the speaker to urgently institute a formal investigation, said the incident occurred during a council sitting shortly after Bobani’s response to Mayor Danny Jordaan’s opening statement.

“During his reply to the concerns I raised, the Mayor struggled to pronounce my surname, which is when Roberts interjected by referring to me as ‘bobbejaan’.”

Bobani said he was stunned in shock and disbelief but was even more astounded when Roberts denied this when he responded to a point-of-order which was raised in respect of the “bobbejaan” comment.

“I believe that his comments were racially offensive and insulting, above all in a constitutionally associated council. It is an affront and an insult to my dignity as a black person and our constitutional democracy,” stated Bobani.

“It also indicates total disrespect to the decorum of our council as an institution which was built on the bed-rock of our constitutional system.

“I am aggrieved by his comments and it reminds me of the dark days of apartheid where we suffered greatly as black people of this country.”

Bobani said the DA councillor must be formally charged according to the code of conduct and ethics of councillors.

According to the DA’s mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip, a charge has been levelled against Roberts by a fellow DA councillor but they are unable to proceed with the legal process as the speaker has not released the transcripts of that specific sitting.

Trollip said DA chief whip Gustav Rautenbach together with DA local leader Retief Odendaal were frustrated with the speaker on the matter.

“There was a recording made which we have been asking the speaker for access to. It’s frustrating because this a vital piece of evidence,” Trollip said.

Roberts in a letter to DA councillor Knight Mali, who filed the complaint against Roberts, said he apologised “unreservedly for any hurt or offence caused to you and assure you that no malice was intended.”

Roberts said he was deeply saddened that his comment in council had been a cause for so much offence to Mali.

“Bobani and I enjoy a very cordial relationship that extends back several years and we frequently engage in good natured banter and joke with one another.

“In council when this occurred I said in an aside, jocularly to Shirley Sauls that his name is Bobabooni. Bear in mind that this was in the context of Mayor Jordaan’s repeated attempts to pronounce Mongameni’s surname correctly to the amusement of council,” he added.

When asked for comment by PE Express Roberts said he could not make any comment as the matter was under investigation at the party’s head office and would jeopardise the legal process.

“In time I will speak out on this issue but I need to be careful not to jeopardise the legal process,” said Roberts.

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