Bobani mostly subdued as budget finally gets approval of majority of councillors
After a disastrous council meeting on Tuesday where insults were hurled between mayor Athol Trollip and his deputy Mongameli Bobani, yesterday’s meeting was unusually quiet.
While Bobani sat quietly, Trollip took centre stage as he took council through the 2017-18 Integrated Development Plan and budget.
The EFF’s Zilindile Vena even quipped that the presence of DA federal council chairman James Selfe, who was at yesterday’s council meeting, had an impact on Trollip’s “showing of leadership”.
The EFF, in previous meetings, complained that Trollip was silent in council meetings while he spoke a lot outside through the media.
But tensions between Bobani and Trollip were still a palpable yesterday.
After hours of silence, during the debate on the budget, Bobani took the microphone – and the opportunity to lecture those attending.
He said he should not be viewed as a disrupter in the council. “People must not tell lies about me in the media,” Bobani said.
“The UDM is part of the coalition and I must not be portrayed as a person who misbehaves.
“The UDM is a party on its own and is independent of the DA, that must be made clear. Don’t feed people lies.”
Speaker Jonathan Lawack pleaded with Bobani not to derail the meeting and to rather debate the IDP and budget.
Bobani said voicing his views did not mean he was not interested in building the city.
“We want this government to work. We are part of the coalition. The UDM approves the IDP and budget to show that we want this city to work,” he said.
Selfe and DA deputy leader, Bobby Stevenson, were seated in the gallery during the first half of the meeting.
They left during the lunch break.
Asked yesterday if his visit had anything to do with the tensions between Trollip and Bobani, Selfe said it was a routine visit.
“I was in Port Elizabeth on a routine visit.
“Then I decided to stay and listen to Mr Trollip addressing the council because I have never done that before.
“There have been talks among coalition partners about Mr Bobani’s behaviour on Tuesday, but it’s not the reason I came here.”
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa also said Bobani’s silence in yesterday’s meeting had nothing to do with the party’s national leaders. “I would be telling lies if I said Mr Bobani did not speak today because of this or that,” Holomisa said.
“We have not done anything to him directly about what went down in the council on Tuesday. ”
Asked about his deafening silence for the most part of yesterday’s meeting Bobani said: “I know some people thought I would not pass the IDP and budget, but I just did not do what they expected.”
While parties debated extensively on the two documents, the IDP and budget were finally approved by 67 councillors.
The ANC, AIC and UF did not approve the budget, saying it was not addressing the needs of the poor in the city.
ANC councillor Rory Riordan said the budget in particular was not speaking to the pro-poor promises made by the DA-led coalition government.
“It is planless and clueless. The IPTS [Integrated Public Transport System] project lunges from one disaster to another,” Riordan said.
He said the budget also did not make provision for the Red Location, KwaNobuhle, sports complex or building facilities in Helenvale.
ANC caucus leader Bicks Ndoni accused the coalition government of plagiarising the City of Cape Town’s IDP document.
“This is unacceptable, the next thing you will have Table
Mountain in these documents. We reject the IDP with the contempt it deserves,” Ndoni said.
During the first half of the meeting, the EFF requested the item to be deferred but after a caucus they approved the IDP and budget.
EFF’s Yoliswa Yako said: “When it comes to speaking to
the poor we see that in this budget money has been allocated to service delivery areas such as human settlements, electricity and energy.
“We want to appeal to these directorates, please use this money. We are also happy to see eradication of bucket toilets is part of the priorities.”
What’s on the 2017/18 budget: