Former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani has made a return to the metro’s mayoral committee, replacing the outgoing Andile Lungisa as MMC (member of the mayoral committee) for infrastructure and engineering.
Bobani confirmed to News24 he had signed his letter of appointment earlier on Monday.
“There is no time to be excited because it’s a huge department that is having a lot of challenges. I’m looking at problems of certain areas in the metro, where residents were getting problems of water in areas like KwaNobuhle, some parts of the township didn’t have water,” he said.
Bobani, who now handles one of the most strategic portfolios in the metro, replacing the ANC’s Andile Lungisa, who resigned on Sunday, said the water crisis will be his main focus.
He told News24 he will be meeting with officials on Tuesday to discuss ways of tackling challenges faced by the communities of Nelson Mandela Bay.
Bobani was removed from his position as mayor in December last year after relations with the ANC and other smaller parties in the coalition soured.
The DA, in particular, had accused the former mayor of corruption in a fractious exchange with then mayor Athol Trollip.
He was first elected as deputy mayor during the DA-led coalition under Trollip.
His name started floating in ANC circles in the metro when Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma called for an investigation into why the metro had been without a mayor since his removal.
Some within the ANC wanted to revive him as the mayor because the DA was gaining ground, calling for fresh elections.
Bobani said some of the issues he had already observed centred around drainage and electricity.
Hit the ground running
“I will have to immediately hit the ground and also in the department call centre. It was difficult for people to get through.
“In the department, when you cry about electricity and water, my officials must be available. It must not take too long to fix a drain. It’s a huge department and I can assure residents they are in good hands,” he said.
Bobani thanked Lungisa for his ‘sterling work’, and added that he will have a handover meeting with the ANC heavyweight on Tuesday.
And, now, Bobani says he will buckle down on corruption.
“Anyone who is finding any corruption, they must go and report to law enforcement.
“Lucky enough, the president has signed a proclamation on SIU investigations.
“If there is element of corruption, I will welcome people to come to my office and we go together and report corruption,” he said.