- Nelson Mandela Bay’s new Mayor Mongameli Bobani from the UDM has become involved in a war of words with the DA
- The DA was angered by reports that Bobani planned to use the whole municipal budget for next year on townships and other non-white areas and white suburbs would receive no funding
- The UDM has since accused the DA of encouraging residents to stop paying rates and taxes, the DA rejected the claim with contempt
Nelson Mandela Bay’s (NMB) new mayor Mongameli Bobani from the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and his party have become embroiled in a war of words and political mudslinging with the Democratic Alliance (DA).
The DA was angered when several reports indicated that Bobani said he planned to use the entire municipal budget for next year on townships and other non-white areas. Bobani’s plan allegedly made no provisions for any repairs to traditionally white-suburbs.
Bobani and the UDM have since accused the DA of encouraging residents in the metro to stop paying their municipal bills which include rates and taxes. The DA vehemently denied this allegation and said it rejected the UDM’s claim ‘with contempt.’
Briefly.co.za gathered that the on Wednesday the UDM went into damage limitation mode and said Bobani had merely tried to call the DA’s mischievous bluff. UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said there was no plot to spend the entire budget on townships.
Citizen.co.za reported that Bobani released a statement in which he tried to spin the comments. In the statement, Bobani makes it clear that his comments were not meant to be taken as a policy statement.
Bobani said his administration was committed to providing excellent service delivery for all the people of the metro. He added that the role of local government was to provide basic services to all residents in an equal and fair manner.
Bobani once again attacked the DA and said the party had been aggrieved by losing control of the metro and had embarked on a campaign urging its supporters to stop paying rates. He said his comments were designed to call the DA’s bluff on the matter.
The DA rejected the claim from what it called the illegitimate mayor of the metro and said Bobani’s statement was an attempt to deflect attention away from his outrageous and irresponsible comments about cutting off services to so-called white suburbs.
The DA said it wholly rejected Bobani’s statement and challenged him to provide proof of his allegations that the party had encouraged residents to stop paying their rates.
The 2016 local election results indicate that most of the DA’s support came from the suburbs in and around NMB which are predominantly white. The ANC, UDM, EFF and other black parties receive the lion share of their support from townships and the northern areas which are predominantly black and coloured areas.
The DA’s Andre Whitfield said his party was completely aware and sympathetic to the plight of impoverished communities in NMB. He said Bobani’s plan to withhold service delivery from the more affluent parts of the metro was dangerous and would end up hurting the poor communities.
Whitfield said it was normal for the rates and taxes from affluent areas to be used to fund projects in poor communities and this source of income was critical for the success of those projects.
Whitfield finished by reaffirming that the DA still believed that Athol Trollip was the legitimate and rightful mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay.
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