Sat, 25 Jan 2020

Following his ousting last Thursday, former Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor Mongameli Bobani has made an application for an urgent request to have it set aside.

On Tuesday, Bobani and former acting city manager Nobuntu Mpongwana lodged applications in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth for relief from the council meeting decision that resulted in them losing their positions.

Although Mpongwana was not removed but stepped down from her position moments before the unexpected axing of Bobani, she has joined him as the second applicant in the case.

Represented by advocates Terry Price SC and Marinda Veldsman, the pair sat attentively as the legal representatives of the 17 respondents made arguments to have the case struck oFf the roll as not urgent by Acting Judge Lisa Ntsepe.

The case, which had initially been scheduled for 11:30, was rescheduled to 14:30.

Veldsman asked the court to grant the applicants their request to have the case heard as an urgent matter.

"The matter is sufficiently urgent. If not today, the matter needs to be heard on Thursday," she said, arguing there would be dire consequences for the City if the case was not heard soon.

Veldsman said out of the 17 respondents, five opposed the application. They are the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, acting city manager Noxolo Nqwazi, DA councillors Morne Steyn and Athol Trollip and DA.

The others indicated their intent not to oppose the application, except for respondents two and 12 who have yet to respond, she added.

The outstanding responses are those of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs and ACDP.

In court papers before the court, the two applicants requested that Bobani should be reinstated as executive mayor.

The application also requested that Mpongwana should be reinstated as the acting municipal manager.

During arguments and counter requests on the urgency of the application, advocate Ben Ford - representing Steyn, the DA and Trollip - said the application should not be granted and be postponed to next week.

Steyn is the sponsor of the motion of no confidence that saw Bobani ousted and Mpongwana stepping down.

READ MORE: Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Bobani booted out through no-confidence motion

Ford argued they could not be given a few hours to file opposing papers.

Advocate Graeme Richards SC - representing the municipality, acting executive mayor Thsonono Buyeye and Nqwazi - concurred with Ford.

Judge Ntsepe postponed the case to Friday.

"All opposing papers must be filed by close of business on Wednesday and the matter will be argued on Friday," she said.

Bobani said he was happy the urgent application had been granted.

"I cannot dwell much on the matter because it is sub-judice. Justice by Friday will prevail in this court."

Bobani thanked the UDM and its top leadership as well as other parties that had supported him.

He said he was not worried that the case would be heard on Friday the 13th, which is known as a day of bad luck across the world.

"I don't know about the 13th and the 12th, I just know that Friday is Friday and that Friday will come. To me it's not about bad luck."

More than 100 UDM members and supporters sang and danced outside the court during and after the proceeding.

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