Biased and unproven accusations. Using draft reports, without an audit opinion, not authorised by council. A national party leader quoting from a draft report. Press conferences and excited media reports promoting cheap propaganda based on a misrepresentation of the draft report. An executive mayor declining to comment on a report, because it is a draft – having first drawn vigorous attention to it. Fabrications and distortion of facts to excuse a dubious political marriage of convenience. A breach of confidence between a council and a professional firm of advisors. A court document gone missing from a judges file. A high court application dismissed as urgent, but without the merits of the case being heard.

And yet, the Democratic Alliance (DA) claimed victory this past week. The reality is that the DA sits without a majority in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBMM) Council. There is no government without coalition partners. So, whose victory is it? It certainly isn’t the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.

The DA has shown its true colours: a party with a self-important attitude that takes an unbending, bully approach to coalition governance. It continues to use a style of arrogating to direct, instructing and threatening. In other words, the NMBMM coalition partners must do as “the boss” wants… or else!

The DA effectively rid itself of a coalition partner, the UDM, by dissing our deputy executive mayor Mongameli Bobani for not dancing to the DA tune. The DA then cajoles the Patriotic Alliance (PA), to front Mr Bobani’s removal on the promise of that position. Then, surprise, surprise, the DA reneges and the PA withdraws from the marriage of convenience entered in June this year.

The UDM still does not understand why the DA entered into a separate agreement (from the existing co-governance agreement) with the PA? We were not part of the negotiations and were merely informed of the DAs decision. Is it because the DA had hatched a plan, in collusion with the PA, with the sole purpose of getting rid of Mr Bobani?

It must be the case, considering that PA leader Gayton McKenzie wrote in the divorce letter to executive mayor Athol Trollip that: “The agreement reached was very clear, we will only enter into a coalition with the Democratic Alliance when the position of Deputy Mayor is made available for PA occupancy.”

It is now clear that the DA has neither the maturity (nor the bearing) to form, manage and lead coalition governments which are, by their very nature, demanding of compassion and mutual respect. The DAs divide and rule mentality has no place in the politics of coalition. The sooner its leadership realises that, the better.

The UDM will step up to strengthen the developing mechanics of coalition governance in the run-up to the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, when coalition governance is expected to become the norm in the next chapter of South Africa’s maturing democracy.

Statement by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP and UDM President