CONTROVERSIAL United Democratic Movement (UDM) strongman, Mongameli Bobani, says he’s ready to serve the people of Nelson Mandela Metro despite his unexpected come back being met with hostility.
Bobani was appointed a member of the mayoral committee with the responsibility of heading the infrastructure and engineering portfolio.
He will replace ANC councillor Andile Lungisa, who was forced to step down from the position until his court case has been finalised.
“I have no time to occupy myself with narrow opinions of what other people think about me. I’m inheriting a department with massive challenges and the task at hand is to serve the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay. The challenges in water provision for poor communities will be high on my agenda,” Bobani told Inside Metros.
He also said his department will be paying greater attention to the municipal communication and feedback channels ensuring that the metro’s call centre is up to scratch and that they are able to respond to complaints timeously and effectively.
It is believed that the decision to bring back Bobani was taken at a black caucus meeting, a coalition arrangement compromising Patriotic Alliance, African Independent Congress, UDM and the United Front.
Before this position, Bobani was a mayor in the metro but was booted out through a vote of no confidence facing allegations of corruption.
Following Bobani’s appointment, the ANC reacted with shock, saying the move was unexpected and that the party was more deserving as it had occupied the position previously.
“We were not even invited to the meeting where this was deliberated on and a decision taken. To this effect, we will have our own internal engagements to decide on how we move forward on this matter. But from the onset we do not support the appointment of Bobani,” said ANC Nelson Mandela Bay regional coordinator, Luyolo Nqakula.
Bobani replaces Lungisa who himself is no stranger to controversy.
Lungisa was reportedly forced to relinquish the influential position because of a legal cloud hanging over him.
Lungisa allegedly assaulted a fellow councillor in the metro by smashing him with a water jug injuring him during a heated council meeting. He was subsequently charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm carrying a two-year jail sentence.
He, however, took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal seeking both the conviction and sentence to be overturned.
Meanwhile, the municipal council is expected to meet on August 13 to deliberate on the vacant mayoral post.
The Nelson Mandela Bay has been without a mayor for over six months, leading to the MEC for COGTA Xolile Nqatha threatening to put the metro under administration and dissolve council.
African Independent Congress councillor Thsonono Buyeye is currently the acting mayor.
(COMPILED BY INSIDEMETROS STAFF)