The decision to replace resigned member of the mayoral committee (MMC) Andile Lungisa with United Democratic Movement (UDM) councillor Mongameli Bobani in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro has upset some ANC members in the region.
Lungisa confirmed on social media that he had stepped down from his position as MMC for infrastructure and engineering.
He will, however, remain an ordinary councillor pending the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision in his criminal case as regards his guilty conviction for hitting DA councillor Rano Kayser over the head with a glass water jug without provocation during a heated council meeting in October 2016.
Lungisa appeared before a disciplinary hearing in King William’s Town on Sunday after he allegedly refused to step down.
ANC provincial spokesperson Loyiso Magqashela confirmed that Lungisa had stepped down, saying “he has vacated his position as a mayoral committee member.”
But the announcement that he would be replaced by controversial former mayor Mongameli Bobani took some by surprise.
ANC regional coordinator Luyolo Nqakula said they learnt about the decision after the fact.
“We wish to state clearly that we outright reject this appointment. The ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay will never support any decision taken by the black caucus which is not borne out of engagement and consultation, especially in a position which was occupied by the ANC as an organisation.
“As such, the ANC views the action of the black caucus as undermining the ANC as an organisation. The ANC will interact with this development comprehensively and pronounce itself to that effect.” he said in a statement.
The decision to bring back Bobani was made at a meeting of coalition partners including the African Independent Congress, the UDM, the United Front and the Patriotic Alliance – which are collectively known as the black caucus informally.
The ANC was absent from that meeting on Monday afternoon.
Bobani was first elected as deputy mayor during the DA-led coalition under former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip. He later became mayor before being voted out.
The council is set to debate the election of a new mayor next week.
Thsonono Buyeye has been acting mayor since Bobani was removed from his position last year.
The council will be debating Buyeye’s future at a council meeting on August 13, amid threats by Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha to place the city under administration and dissolve the council if a mayor is not elected and a new acting city manager appointed.