Political landscape akin to gangster state

Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor Mongameli Bobani
Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor Mongameli Bobani
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Never before in a post-democratic Nelson Mandela Bay have we been confronted with the situation that the metro now finds itself in, where the work of council is at a standstill because some councillors’ lives have been threatened.

On Monday, after about four months of virtually no council work done, they attempted to meet yet again. Several hours of filibustering later and mayor Mongameli Bobani survived yet another attempt to oust him.

Politics aside, there is something bigger, more dangerous at play which is a real attack on democracy and the rule of law.

In the weeks leading up to the last two scheduled council meetings, councillors received death threats and were told if they voted in the motion to remove Bobani, either they or members of their families would be dealt with.

Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya told this newspaper that the night before Monday’s meeting she received a text message that if she went ahead with the meeting, they would follow her to her grave.

Two shots were then fired at her neighbour’s house that night, an attack she believes was aimed at intimidating her.

An EFF councillor,  Simphiwe Ntshiza, recorded a threatening phone call from an alleged hitman who said he had been paid R4,000 to get rid of him because he was in the way.

The man on the other end of the phone wanted to know Ntshiza’s clan name before going ahead with the job.

Today, we report on the team from the auditor-general’s office who have packed up and pulled from auditing the city’s books after having received a perceived threat when they began asking questions.

Sadly, this is the extent to which governance has degenerated in the metro and most of it has been done in Bobani’s name, by people who want to ensure he remains in power.

The fact that he has not come out strongly to condemn all these threats is concerning.

We have entered a gangster state where thugs are hell-bent on ruling over the barrel of a gun.

Let us hope no lives will be lost by the time the other spheres of government finally intervene.

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