DA will never put Bobani back in power again - Helen Zille

2020-01-28 19:56
Helen Zille, speaking at the Cape Town Press Club, says DA will never put UDM’s Bobani in power in NMB ever again (Photo: Jan Gerber, News24)

Helen Zille, speaking at the Cape Town Press Club, says DA will never put UDM’s Bobani in power in NMB ever again (Photo: Jan Gerber, News24)

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The DA will never again put the UDM's Mongameli Bobani in power in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille said on Tuesday.

She was attending an event at the Cape Town Press Club, which was addressed by her predecessor as DA leader, Tony Leon.

Inevitably, a member of the audience raised the matter of the report on the DA's 2019 election results, co-authored by Leon. The audience member also referred to the DA's coalition talks in Nelson Mandela Bay, expressing his exasperation at the prospect of the DA working again with Bobani.

Leon said the report had "touched on the DA's arrangements with the EFF", which had a negative effect in Johannesburg.

"I would be shocked if the DA does anything to revive a majority with Bobani in Nelson Mandela Bay," Leon said, before figuratively passing the microphone to Zille.

"We'll never put Bobani in power ever again," Zille kicked off, emphatically.

Echoing a sentiment former DA leader Mmusi Maimane often expressed, Zille said coalitions were South Africa's future, adding the DA was going through a complex period of major consolidation.

"The DA has to be a strong, stable, values-driven coalition partner."

She said the UDM had always been a factor in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality's politics.

In December, the DA and ANC banded together to remove Bobani as mayor.

After the 2016 elections, the DA governed the municipality in coalition with the UDM, Cope, ACDP and, at times, the Patriotic Alliance (PA). However, relations between then-DA mayor Athol Trollip and Bobani, who was his deputy mayor, soon soured.

After failed attempts to remove Trollip, the EFF, ANC and UDM finally succeeded in August 2018 at a dramatic council meeting.

The ANC, UDM, African Independent Congress (AIC) and United Front formed a minority coalition government, governing with the EFF's support. As allegations against Bobani mounted amid several service delivery failures, he was removed in December, and the EFF did not participate in the proceedings.

'Talks about talks'

Earlier this month, Zille confirmed there were "talks about talks" about forming a new coalition government in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Leon was also asked what he thought about Zille's comeback to politics.

"I really admire Helen for going back in," he said, as Zille "recused" herself from the Kelvin Grove Club's dining hall so that Leon could speak freely.

He added he found it difficult to be back on the Sunday Times' front page when they reported on the report evaluating the DA's elections results.

"Helen brings a lot of wisdom."

Leon described DA interim leader John Steenhuisen as a "very effective guy" and said when he wrote a book which appeared in 2008 after he stepped down, he identified two future leaders in the DA - one being Steenhuisen, the other Western Cape Local Government MEC Anton Bredell.

Leon was also asked what he made of Maimane and former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba's pursuits since they left the party in October shortly after Zille's dramatic return.

Mashaba has since said he was working towards forming a new party, while Maimane is forming a movement to unite South Africans.

Leon said he was a little sceptical. He mentioned Makhosi Khoza who after leaving as an ANC MP formed a new party, but nothing came of it.

He also said Roelf Meyer, after leaving the UDM in the early 2000s, launched an organisation which had Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton at its launch, but nothing came of it.

He said Maimane was entering an "overcrowded field and difficult furrow to plough".

Read more on:    da  |  tony leon  |  helen zille  |  cape town  |  politics
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