UDM bombs in Bay, but mayor puts on a brave face
Decline in support for the UDM showed the public’s disapproval of Bobani's mayorship, says analyst
There were more spoilt votes than votes for the United Democratic Movement (UDM) in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The UDM got 3,667 people to vote for them, while the number of spoilt votes in the city stood at 4,921.
But Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani, who claimed to have not seen any voting statistics for his party in Nelson Mandela Bay on Friday, put on a brave face.
“I will only be disappointed if I did not get one vote. I am happy with just one vote. It means the message spread to at least one person,” he said.
The UDM went all out in Nelson Mandela Bay leading up to the 2019 national elections and even launched its manifesto in the city.
“We are not phased out, and we are still there. We must continue to push and work hard to get more next time,” Bobani said.
“They [the voters] are saying just push harder, and we must work harder. We will increase our votes next time.”
Within days leading up to the manifesto launch, the UDM held several events around the city. These included street meetings in Veeplaas – complete with UDM-branded motorbikes – and land invasions in KwaNobuhle, where the party urged residents to occupy the land.
Bobani told Motherwell residents he was running a caring government, and promised to electrify all informal settlements during his tenure as mayor.
Political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana said the decline in support for the UDM was an indication of the public’s disapproval of Bobani’s mayorship.
“It’s not surprising because the council has been mired in misconduct and abuse of power by his office. He has been making very reckless statements, saying they would ignore white people and focus purely on black communities.”
Ndletyana was referring to statements made by Bobani in September 2018 that they would divert 100% of the city’s budget towards Bay townships.
Ndletyana said the poor expenditure on capital projects and a Hawks investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption had tainted the UDM’s image in the Bay.
“The misconduct overwhelmed the public appearances,” Ndletyana said.
“The UDM will be in parliament. They are guaranteed at least one seat, but if they will survive beyond this, parliament is something else altogether.”Ndletyana predicted that both the UDM and ANC would perform dismally in the 2021 local government elections if there was no drastic change in service delivery. “It has always been a wonder why Holomisa, who has a reputation for fighting corruption, would now find it tolerable for someone like Bobani to be mayor and a leader of the party [in the region].”Bobani is being investigated by the Hawks for fraud and corruption linked to the city’s bus system and an environmental management services tender.