DA’s coalition agreements hold despite problems
But Nelson Mandela Bay is ‘on a knife-edge’
THE DA has expressed frustration over the difficulty of managing the coalition agreements keeping them in power in four of the country’s biggest metros.
And a motion of no-confidence has been planned against one of its coalition leaders as tensions reach boiling point.
However, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said they had turned the tide since coming into power in the metros of Joburg, Tshwane, Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay, following the watershed municipal elections a year ago.
Maimane was joined by DA mayors Herman Mashaba, Solly Msimanga, Patricia de Lille and Athol Trollip as they briefed journalists on the progress made in the metros at the Jabavu Library in Soweto yesterday.
They said they had managed to curb corruption, fraud and maladministration, and had created job opportunities and delivered housing, title deeds and other basic municipal services.
But Maimane admitted that while coalitions “posed their own unique challenges, and are often difficult to manage”, they were the future of South Africa and should be embraced.
He said the DA had agreed with their coalition partners to put their differences aside and focus “on our shared goals”.
“I am pleased to announce that, one year on, the national coalition agreement last year still stands.”
But the DA-led coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay, where Trollip has been butting heads with his UDM deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani over the direction the metro should take, seems to be on a knife-edge.
Speaking to The Star on the sidelines of the briefing, Trollip said of his relationship with Bobani: “It’s extremely difficult and I’ve been very patient for seven months now, myself and my party leader (Maimane)… Over seven months we’ve had three meetings at national level to deal with some of the critical issues.”
He added: “The main issues are councillor Bobani and his colleague vote against the coalition government in council. We have 61 councillors in the coalition and 50% is 60. But very often we only have 59 votes because those two (UDM) councillors don’t vote with us. That is not allowed in a coalition government, if your equal partners don’t support you.”
Trollip said the real “frustration” had been the fact that there had been no consequences for Bobani.
“We have meetings and he gets told if you do this it’s treasonous and… at the last council meeting, he voted against the coalition on five occasions. My frustration is that his party and his leadership have not disciplined him,” he said.
“In Mogale City, we had EFF councillors voting for an ANC budget in defiance of their party position. They were… charged and there is a disciplinary process. Not so with councillor Bobani and that’s what has made it very difficult,” said Trollip.
A vote of no-confidence against Bobani is due to be held at the council chambers in Port Elizabeth next Thursday.
“We will see what happens,” Trollip added.
Bobani referred all questions to UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa. Holomisa told The Star that issues between the two leaders had long been resolved and that the metro’s budget had been approved as a result.
“We are not members of the DA, we have a right to oppose him (Trollip) on issues. We can’t rubber-stamp everything he comes up with,” he said.
On the planned motion of no-confidence against Bobani, Holomisa, sounding irritated, said: “If they don’t want Bobani, they must go ahead and do that. But if we want – underline that – we can put a counter-motion, if they push us that far. The dirty tricks campaign by Trollip must come to an end.”