By Mbali Sibiya
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) lodged an urgent application in the Port Elizabeth High Court to have the motion of no confidence vote against ousted deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani set aside.
Bobani was ousted as deputy mayor in a vote was passed while opposition parties were leaving the council chambers.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the application sought to prevent the municipality from implementing the August 24 decision and to have Bobani reinstated.
“I trust that the High Court will separate fact from fiction and that the honourable court will see through the [Democratic Alliance] DA’s politicking and identify the DA’s smear campaign against Bobani and the UDM,” he said.
“The DA, claiming good governance at every turn, should have known better than to have proceeded with the motion; should know better than to defend the illicit decision to remove the deputy executive mayor.”
Bobani filed the papers on Thursday afternoon and told the media that he was not in a position to comment on the application and referred questions to Holomisa.
The application lists 132 respondents, including all councillors of the municipality, as well as the speaker of the municipality, the city manager, and all political parties that have representation in Mandela Bay.
Holomisa said the mechanics of the introduction and acceptance of, and the voting on, and the decision of Council to pass a motion of no confidence in Bobani was unconstitutional and unlawful from the outset and should be set aside.
“What the DA claims, and what the DA does; what the DA promises, and what the DA delivers, remain alarmingly divergent,” he said.
Holomisa said there was no factual or legal grounds for the removal of Bobani who had not been formally accused of any wrongdoing; had not been granted any opportunity to defend himself on the alleged accusations of wrongdoing.
Mayor Athol Trollip said he had not yet seen the papers but said the municipality would oppose the application.
“We know why we voted in a vote of no confidence against councillor Bobani. He has shown no commitment to our co-governance agreement,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned, he is the former deputy mayor and that is that.”
Respondents have until 8 September 8 to file answering affidavits, while the UDM’s legal counsel will file responding papers by the 14th and the provisional court date set down is 19 September.