Few surprises expected at council meeting as DA secures majority

AUGUST 18, 2016

There will be a few surprises (if any) at Thursday morning's crucial Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting after the Democratic Alliance (DA) secured a much-needed majority after signing coalition agreements with the United Democratic Front (UDM), the Congress of the People (Cope) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP).

DA Mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip, is now set to formally take reins at the meeting - dashing hopes of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Nelson Mandela Bay staging a coup at the meeting. The party, which had insisted that the battle for the Bay was not yet over during coalition talks, surprised many when its scheduled press conference on Wednesday was cancelled at the last minute.

The Nelson Mandela Bay was one of the most contended Metros in the 2016 local government elections  - in the end, the DA won 46.7% of the vote or 57 seats out of the 120 seats in the council while the ANC secured 40.9%, (or 50 seats).

While the DA was the winner, it actually needed four more seats (to get it to 61 seats) in order to secure an outright political majority at council.

New kids on the block, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) came in third with 5.1% of the vote (or six seats) while the UDM secured 1.9% of the vote, earning them two seats. The EFF on Wednesday, refused to join any coalitions but said it would lend the DA its vote in several hung metros.

Smaller parties - the African Independent Conference (AIC), the United Front of the Eastern Cape (UFEC), Cope, ACDP and the newly formed Patriotic Alliance (PA), secured one seat each in the August 3 elections. Cope, the United Front (UF) and PA announced that they had formed a "coalition block" that would give them an edge in current negotiations.

They had hoped the other smaller parties, including the EFF, ACDP, AIC, will join the “coalition block”. Seems Cope broke rank with the coalition block.

The coalition anounced on Wednesday, means the DA, UDM, Cope and ACDP alliance has the majority in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Which party holds which portfolio in this alliance is expected to become clear at Thursday morning's meeting, Trollip told reporters.

It should also become clear, who the smaller parties that did not join the DA-led coalition will side with.