Acting corporate services head accuses deputy mayor of making advances to her
It is war.
Vuyo Zitumane has broken her silence with explosive suggestions that Nelson Mandela Bay deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani is gunning for her because she rejected his advances three times.
“I refused to avail myself on his three attempts [to tell] me that he is available to me (a happily married woman) 24 hours a day,” Zitumane said yesterday.
The fightback by the municipality’s acting corporate services head includes claims that Bobani tried to get her to recall two suspended officials and authorise irregular payments to two companies.
Adding to the bombshell allegations, Zitumane – who described Bobani as an unhappy, wounded person – said that despite subsequently calling her incompetent, he had encouraged her three times to apply for the city manager position “as his preferred choice” as well as the chief operating officer post.
“It is worth mentioning I had to block his calls on my cellphone,” she said.
“Evidence relating to all these matters will be provided at an appropriate platform and time. The list is endless.”
The Herald reported yesterday that she was preparing to sue Bobani for defamation after he allegedly called her corrupt on several occasions.
Bobani has laughed off the claims, denying outright that he had a personal vendetta against Zitumane.
“I can’t do that, I am a happily married man,” he said.
“If that were true, why then does she not provide the recording of that conversation because any officials in the metro who meet with me record me?”
A double-punch for the deputy mayor came when city manager Johann Mettler said those involved in anti-graft work would “inevitably be undermined by the beneficiaries of patronage and corruption”.
Mettler said: “Rest assured that nothing will deter us in our vigorous pursuit of corrupt persons.”
Bobani has spoken out openly about his feelings towards Mettler and Zitumane, taking issue particularly with their appointments.
He tried at the last council meeting to get them out of the institution and failed.
He said he would table a motion at the next council meeting for them to be suspended. Things came to a head yesterday when he opened four corruption cases at the Humewood police station.
He alleged that Zitumane and Mettler had entered into what he termed “dubious contracts”.
- The alleged illegal hacking of a municipal server by an unregistered service provider appointed through dubious processes;
- The alleged dubious appointment of a service provider to implement MScoa (a municipal accounting system);
- The appointment of an ICT equipment company by corporate services;
- The Mohlaleng Media contract extension; and
- The employment contract entered into between the municipality and a company at corporate services which he suspected had a conflict of interest.
Mettler has described the allegations as malicious, spurious and without substance.
Bobani, whose precarious relationship with his coalition partners has reached an all-time low, also accused mayor Athol Trollip of possibly being involved within these contracts.
“This action that I have taken is consistent with the UDM’s commitment of rooting out corruption in the municipality and all organs of state,” he said.
“The DA do not want to accept that they are not in power. “This is a coalition government. “There is no way that we can allow one man to make decisions for us and run the municipality like a farm.”
Trollip did not respond to questions sent to him and his spokesman. Members of the mayoral committee have, however, thrown their weight behind Trollip and the administration, saying the cases opened by Bobani were “spurious and should be dismissed”.
“The DA, COPE and ACDP coalition partners are in full support of this administration’s efforts to stop corruption where it really exists,” the committee said in a statement.
Bobani said a mayoral caucus meeting had been cut short yesterday after his credibility as a member of the mayoral committee was questioned.
“I sat next to [Trollip] and they actually questioned my credibility within the committee and then he adjourned the meeting,” Bobani said.
“I don’t know what will happen with the coalition in the coming days. I am also interested to know.
“Going forward, I do not know – we will take every day as it comes.
“I am looking forward to the council meeting as I am in a hurry to remove these officials and no one is going to stop me.”
UDM president Bantu Holomisa said he had not been briefed about the latest Bay coalition squabbles.
“Trollip and Bobani are old enough. They must sort out their misunderstanding,” Holomisa said.
DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said Bobani had made several allegations before, none of which had proved accurate.
“Frankly, it is a question in our view that the lady [or man in this case] doth protest too much.
“There is just one allegation after another … and they are starting to lose credibility.”
Asked if the coalition could survive the latest drama, Selfe said: “I think the coalition can survive it.
“Whether or not Mr Bobani can survive it, is another matter altogether.
“I think there is enough common ground between ourselves and the UDM for us to work together.
“But in this coalition situation, where you have a deputy mayor who is as destructive as Mr Bobani is, I don’t think that is compatible for a good working relationship.”
Selfe said the national leaders would discuss the matter soon.