Hawks must step in, UDM leader says

UDM president Bantu Holomisa
File picture: Lulamile Feni

Angry Holomisa calls for investigations into counter-claims in Trollip, Bobani impasse

Accusing Bay mayor Athol Trollip of hubris and hypocrisy, UDM party leader Bantu Holomisa said yesterday the Hawks and the auditor-general should investigate counter-allegations of corruption between Trollip and his deputy, Mongameli Bobani.

He also demanded that Bobani be immediately reinstated to his position as mayoral committee member for health.

In a strongly worded letter written to members of a panel set up to investigate the tension, Holomisa made no bones about the fact that he believed Nelson Mandela Bay’s coalition was going nowhere.

He said a severe lack of trust meant outside mechanisms must be used to investigate all allegations and counter-allegations.

Trollip and Bobani have been at loggerheads for months, disagreeing on governance matters and the appointment of senior municipal staff, among other things.

So bad was the rift that a panel consisting of COPE, the ACDP and the Freedom Front Plus was brought in to get to the bottom of tensions that led to Trollip firing Bobani as a member of the mayoral committee last month.

In his letter, Holomisa claims that Trollip had gone back on a decision taken on May 15 to reinstate Bobani to the mayoral committee post until a full investigation had been concluded. A clearly irate Holomisa wrote that Trollip had said on Monday that new evidence had come to light during investigations into Bobani.

Holomisa said: “Yesterday [Monday], councillor Trollip told us there were now new matters that had come to the fore in his continued investigations and that this justified his continued corralling out of councillor Bobani from the health department.

“Why did councillor Trollip, who was found wanting by the three-person investigation, continue to function in a kangaroo-court style – where he is accuser, investigator, judge and executioner?

“His actions are wrong on so many levels that one struggles to comprehend the hubris and hypocrisy.”

Holomisa then called for the auditorgeneral and the Hawks to be brought in.

Accusations by Trollip included that Bobani had made improper payments of R1.9-million and R1.4-million to a consulting company.

Bobani, on the other hand, accused Trollip of hiring a company to hack the municipal database, among other things. Holomisa yesterday declined to comment. DA leader Mmusi Maimane accused Holomisa of being committed to protecting an individual against the broader coalition deal.

Maimane’s spokesman, Graham Charters, said: “Mr Holomisa must do the right thing and remove Mr Bobani. The ball is in the UDM’s court.”

Attempts to get comment from Trollip were unsuccessful.

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