Trollip, Bobani tensions flare up at meeting

Mayor Athol Trollip, left, and deputy Mongameli Bobani File picture: Eugene Coetzee
Mayor Athol Trollip, left, and deputy Mongameli Bobani
File picture: Eugene Coetzee

Tensions between mayor Athol Trollip and his deputy, Mongameli Bobani, were thrust into the open yesterday as the two went head to head at a heated council meeting, which saw Bobani try to get rid of city manager Johann Mettler.

Seated next to each other, they clashed over a range of issues – from the plan to partner with a youth job accelerator firm, Harambee, to the metro’s draft budget and development plan and the city’s contract with a private security firm.

Bobani also differed with his coalition partners over a plan to raise a loan for water, sanitation and electricity projects of about R700-million.

It was the first public display of deep rifts in the city’s coalition government, despite earlier assurances that all was well.

In the confidential session of the meeting, Bobani is said to have argued strongly for Mettler to be fired over a performance agreement that he says should be approved by Cooperative Governance MEC Fikile Xasa.

Bobani wants Mettler gone because Xasa did not concur with his appointment.

Insiders said the deputy mayor did not have enough support to carry his motion and he even threatened to challenge the matter in court.

Bobani declined to comment later about the motion, saying it was a confidential matter.

Meanwhile, the tension was palpable even before the start of the council meeting, with Bobani and fellow UDM councillor Thoko Tshangela entering the chambers later and opting not to caucus with their coalition partners before the sitting.

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