The Port Elizabeth High Court has reserved judgment on Mongameli Bobani’s last-ditch effort to get his job back, until Thursday, 19 December.

Bobani vs NMB: Did the axed mayor have a case to plead?

On Friday, after intense heads of argument from both parties, Judge Lisa Ntsepe noted that time was needed to consider the merits of the case and weigh the eligibility of the Nelson Mandela Bay council’s vote to axe Bobani.

The application was brought to the High Court after the NMB council unanimously voted Bobani out of power. At the time, Bobani’s relationship with coalition partners had soured.

Members of the EFF and ANC had described him as a “loose cannon” and a “madman” hell-bent on dismantling “the entire executive structure of the municipality”.

The mayor approached the court, claiming that the axing was gone about unlawfully. He criticised the council for going ahead with a motion that:

  • did not have a city manager; and
  • that was not on the agenda.

Acting City Manager, Nobuntu Mpongwana, joined Bobani in the court application, claiming that she too was unlawfully removed from her position.

Interestingly, though, Mpongwana had left the council and tendered her resignation shortly before the motion was voted on.

Based on the merits, what outcome is most likely?

The latter was Judge Ntsepe’s biggest concern. Mpongwana had tendered her resignation, left the council, yet she was next to Bobani, claiming that the motion of no-confidence vote that went on without her, was unlawful.

Moreover, the council refused to believe that Bobani was not aware of the council’s intention to oust him at the last meeting. The motion of no-conficence vote that finally ousted him was the council’s fourth attempt to have him removed since he took the position from Athol Trollip, in 2018.

To make matters worse for himself, Bobani also participated in the voting process, which ultimately led to his dismissal. He and another councillor were the only two who voted against the motion.

The matter has since stood down for deliberation and judgment is expected in six days. Meanwhile, an unperturbed Bobani was tweeting away during proceedings, taunting the DA on their reputation in court.

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Presh JM Reporter

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