Battleground 2016 Part 2: Why the DA Nelson Mandela Bay walked out of a Council Meeting


It seems like SA’s political landscape is heating up everywhere. On Thursday 13 November, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Nelson Mandela Bay caucus walked out of a council in protest to what it called “a spectacular failure on the part of the Speaker, Cllr Maria Hermans, to administer council Rules of Order in an impartial manner.”

“The blatant ANC (African National Congress) bias on display in a dismal performance reminiscent of recent similar behaviour towards opposition parties in parliament, can only be described as vintage Baleka Mbete,” described Ward 2 Councillor Dean Biddulph in a letter to local blog MyPE.

“The Speaker not only failed to apply the rules of order as legislatively required to do but failed to do so whilst allowing an ANC member to eviscerate the character and integrity of one of our councillors in their absence.

“The Democratic Alliance has noted with deep concern the significant increase in such instances of poor judgement and the lack of impartial application of council rules of order by the Speaker.”

Biddulph added that until recently, the speaker has always enjoyed the confidence and support of the DA caucus.

“Sadly a watershed moment has been reached where we feel that we have no alternative but to consider bring a motion to council calling for a vote of no confidence in the Speaker,” he said.

“In addition, the DA have requested the audio tapes of the meeting to assess the viability of bringing defamation charges against the ANC member who raised scurrilous and disgraceful allegations against one of our members in their absence.

“It would of course be easy to view this incident in isolation but it is quite clear that this is the beginning of a bitter battle of attrition that will be waged with increasing intensity in the run-up to the 2016 local government elections.”

He said that the ANC have realised now that after their dismal showing in the May 2014 general elections, where their support slipped to just under 49% of the vote for the first time.

“It is clear that the gloves are off and that the ANC will increasingly adopt any strategy in a desperate attempt to cling to power in the face of a growing opposition,” Biddulph.

“We accept this challenge willingly. We will not be deterred by such undemocratic behaviour, which serves to strengthen our resolve in bringing better services, jobs and economic growth to a city that has been systematically run into the ground in recent history.

“The people of this metro deserve better, a DA run metro will be a better place to live.”

Read more: Battleground 2016 Part 1: ANC Nelson Mandela Bay Needs Numsa Back