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Bay's R12 billion budget finally passed as AIC 'punishes' ANC over Matatiele

Jun 13, 2018
Bay's R12 billion budget finally passed as AIC 'punishes' ANC over Matatiele

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality finally got its R12 billion budget passed at Wednesday's Council Meeting owing to events playing out elsewhere in the Eastern Cape province.

Wednesday's seating was the fourth attempt by Councillors to break a deadlock that had seen the budget and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) proposed by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Athol Trollip, at the end of May, not getting the thumbs up.

Trollip presented the municipality's proposed R12 billion budget as well as its IDP to Councillors at a meeting held on the 30th of May.

He also proposed several tariff increases on services such as water and sanitation, refuse collection, electricity and property rates.

However, that meeting collapsed and it had to be rescheduled for the 6th June. 

That meeting had to be adjourned again.

At Tuesday's meeting, there had been hope that the budget would finally be passed after a smaller opposition party, African Independent Congress (AIC), made a u-turn from its previous stance and announced it would lend its single vote to the Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition, which needed 61 votes to break the impasse in the 120-seat Council.

Besides, the DA (with 57 seats), it is the Congress of the People (COPE), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) - with one seat each, who are supporting the budget. 

On one hand, the official opposition in the Nelson Mandela Bay, the ANC has 50 votes, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), which was once part of the DA-led coalition until last year and has two seats, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has six seats, and the United Front (UF), which has one seat, said that they will not support the proposed budget because it doesn't carter for the needs of the poor in the Metro.

That resulted in a stalemate, which could only be broken by the AIC vote, which had also previously stated they would not support the budget.

However, after promising to support the budget, the AIC's Councillor disappeared before voting could begin.

Speaking to RNEWS, AIC Regional Secretary, Steven Mahlubanzima Jafta, explained that the disappearance of Cllr Tshonono Buyeye in council on Tuesday was because he is under pressure, after both the African National Congress (ANC) and the DA coalition made appeals for his vote.

“Councillor Buyeye was in a dilemma and pressure at the time.

“We had a deal with the ANC of taking Matatiele Municipality back to KwaZulu-Natal, but unfortunately the ANC provincial leadership took the contradictory decision in the province," he explained.

“We also wanted to show them that we are not depending on it, they are the ones that depend on us and we instructed our councillor to vote with the DA coalition to punish the ANC."

Jafta told RNEWS that they took an opportunity, since this is happening in the same province, to also show that the AIC is “independent and that’s why we decided to vote with the coalition”.

“[But] both parties were making those calls, pleading and we instructed Cllr Buyeye to stay away from that up until we have engaged thoroughly with both parties if they are willing."

At a press conference held by the DA coalition partners, Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, said that what is happening in the Metro is very sad.

However, they would try by all means to ensure that the city is not "stolen by the ANC" by having the ANC-led provincial government come in and take over if it is placed under administration.

Trollip said that those, who think that they will give up and give the City back to the ANC, so that they can loot, are mistaken.

“We are not a chaotic administration and Andile Lungisa and [Mongameli] Bobani teamed to make sure that the council collapse and they make quiet an interesting pair. They are the same people in council causing confusion and chaos,” he described.

On Wednesday morning, it appeared the ANC had not made concrete committments to the AIC over the issue of Matatiele, hence Cllr Buyeye cast his vote in support of the budget.