The United Democratic Movement’s Mongameli Bobani has written to his party and issued an apology for his behaviour towards Cope MP Deidre Carter, but refused to apologise for taunting mayor Athol Trollip.
Carter contacted UDM leader Bantu Holomisa after Bobani allegedly assaulted her during a confrontation that had taken place at the back of the council chamber during the Nelson Mandela Bay Council meeting on Thursday.
The confrontation allegedly began when Bobani started swearing at chief of staff, Kristoff Adelbert. Carter said she had stood and asked Bobani to calm down, when he grabbed her and knocked her with his shoulder.
In a separate incident, Bobani went to the front of council, and taunted Trollip, gesturing in front of him and asking him to shake his hand.
Trollip tweeted about the incident on Thursday.
Holomisa had responded on Friday and indicated that he had asked for a full report on the proceedings, and would, where necessary, take action against Bobani.
In a letter to his party on Saturday, Bobani apologised for his actions towards Carter, but said it was impossible to recall each and every interaction of the day. He blamed the “turbulent and tumultuous environment,” which he said was caused by speaker, Jonathan Lawack.
“I submit immediately that in-as-much as there may be even the smallest sensing that I intentionally touched or collided with or set upon Cope MP Deidre Carter during one of several close encounters in the mostly chaotic NMBM council meeting on 29 March, where people were moving about and bumping into furniture and fixtures and each other, I apologise unreservedly,” he wrote.
“The riotous environment failingly presided over by an effete speaker invited and increased the likelihood of awkward and gratuitous physical contacts and I regret that Ms Carter had to endure any discomfort, inconvenience, or perceived danger or threat, especially as a guest of the metro on this occasion,” he said.
“My report of the incident, to colleagues, and the report of Ms Carter, and the motley of eyewitness reports presented in the media support only one conclusion: in the heat of the bedlam no one can objectively recall exactly what has happened during this unguarded and unwitting moment of some seven hours of pandemonium,” he said.
Bobani was, however, unrepentant for his behaviour towards mayor Athol Trollip.
“I can be certain only of my intended face-off with mayor Trollip. My encounter with mayor Trollip is a completely different matter! That was intended!” he wrote in a separate press release.
“So, I taunted my persecutor. Trollip. Trollip, my tormenter. Trollip, the man who had belittled me. Trollip, the man who had smeared me. Trollip, the man who had used me to gain tenuous power, and then systematically demeaned me and tossed me like another rag no longer needed.,” he said,
Bobani again accused Trollip of misleading council to have him removed as deputy mayor.
“Yet, my antics disqualify me for office!? As opposed to the misrepresentations of mayor Trollip? Seriously?”
Bobani said he remained a loyal member of the UDM and freely submitted to any inquiry sanctioned by the UDM leadership.
“Upon an application of mind, and despite my legitimate accusals of maladministration against the current DA minority government of the NMBM, I am compelled to offer my unconditional apology to my party, the UDM, and to brother and sister councillors, and to council guests, and to the public, for actions and utterances, by design or by provocation, during the rumbustious council meeting that clearly offended specific sensibilities.”
“I can only hope that the resumptive council, 14 days from Thursday last, will conclude the urgent agenda in pursuit of service delivery for all the people of our city,” he said