The coalition government in Nelson Mandela Bay is not under threat and will remain intact until the end of the term in 2019, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa insists.
He was addressing nearly 300 supporters who filled the Veeplaas Community Hall yesterday for a Youth Day commemoration event, but also in anticipation of an update on the state of the coalition in the metro, which has been on shaky ground in recent months.
“The UDM is still firmly part of this coalition government despite the challenges of the past few months,” he said.
“We have absolutely no intention to collapse or to leave the coalition government. We acknowledge like any other relationship there are challenges, but they are not insurmountable.”
Holomisa said what had been reported in the media had been escalated to national leaders of the coalition partners and was being attended to.
“A three-member committee scrutinised the situation and found that the executive mayor [Athol Trollip] and deputy mayor [Mongameli Bobani] were both at fault in many respects.
“We therefore took the stance that they should either shape up or ship out. Everyone must do their work, and follow the law and rules of the municipality.”
Holomisa said the coalition’s teething problems were a result of there being no legislative framework for coalition governments.
At another Youth Day event at the Senzangabom community hall in Kwazakhele, Azanian People’s Organisation regional chairman Lulamile Mate told of events in Port Elizabeth on June 16 1976.
“When word got out that there would be an uprising in Soweto, we decided to mobilise as pupils to show solidarity.
“We spread the messages to meet at Wolfson Stadium in New Brighton. However, police stopped us and told us they were giving us five minutes to disperse or else they would shoot,” he said.
Mate, who was 21 at the time and a Grade 12 pupil, said chaos had erupted when the first shot was fired and the pupils had dispersed and started burning liquor stores.
Yesterday’s events also included a march against the abuse of women and children from the post office in Govan Mbeki Avenue to Vuyilsile Mini Square, while the ANC Youth League regional task team hosted a rally in Walmer Township.