South Africa: A Toxic Stew in the Nelson Mandela Bay Coalition Kitchen


The politics of Nelson Mandela Bay is a combination of corruption, ladled with personal animus, spiced with racial rhetoric and stirred together by patronage. One of the chief chefs is the mayor, the UDM's Mongameli Bobani. While the other cooks want him to leave the kitchen, he's refusing to hand over the apron. Welcome to the nasty side of what coalition politics can cook up.

The list of colourful characters in Nelson Mandela Bay is impressive, even by South African standards.

The UDM's Mongameli Bobani, the mayor, is accused of corruption, a claim he denies. Last week he fired five senior managers in the municipality without giving any reasons. He is protected by the UDM's leader, Bantu Holomisa, who has remained silent on the chaos wrought by a prominent member of his party. Bobani may have even cost UDM votes in the May elections as a result.

Then there is the ANC's Andile Lungisa, who has been convicted of breaking a glass jar on the head of a DA councillor during a council meeting. He has been ordered by the ANC's National Executive Committee to step down from his position on Bobani's Mayoral Committee. In what may well be a...

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