For months the DA and its coalition partners in Nelson Mandela Bay – UDM, COPE and ACDP – were at pains to convince the public that their partnership was solid and their spats were merely differences of opinion.
Over the last three weeks, all pretence of civility flew out the window and the gloves came off.
The simmering tensions between deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani (UDM) and some of his DA counterparts have played out in the open as they have clashed over a range of issues.
At last week’s council meeting they differed over city manager Johann Mettler’s performance and a plan to partner with a youth job accelerator firm, Harambee.
They also butted heads over the metro’s draft budget and development plan as well as the city’s contract with a private security firm.
But the most telling – and disturbing – sign that the relationship has frayed was reported by this newspaper yesterday.
Bobani is heard in a recording threatening a mayoral committee member, Dean Biddulph, telling him he will “sort” him out and insisting that they take their spat outside their meeting room.
They can be heard earlier on differing over the preferred candidate for the public health executive director position, with Bobani insisting his adviser, Nombeko Nkomane, is the best person for the job.
The coalition squabbles have created uncertainty in the administration as the DA needs the UDM’s support to push forward any items in the council.
Without its two seats, it leaves the remaining coalition partners at the mercy of the EFF and other opposition parties.
This stalls progress, hampers development and creates political instability – a situation this metro knows all too well and a road it cannot afford to go down again.
Although the challenges between Bobani and the DA are many, they are not insurmountable.
It is essential for all parties involved to rise above their differences and be mindful of the electorate who ultimately put them in charge.
It is time to they appreciate that the residents of the metro cannot be at the mercy of selfish political whims.