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Athol Trollip and coalition partners file court challenge against Bobani's administration

Aug 31, 2018
Athol Trollip and coalition partners file court challenge against Bobani's administration

The Democratic Alliance (DA)-led coalition, which includes the Congress of the People (COPE); the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP);  and the Patriotic Alliance (PA), on  Friday finally filed court papers setting the stage for a major legal showdown with Mongameli Bobani's barely-week-old administration.

In joint statement,the parties said that the court papers were filed in the Port Elizabeth High Court after former Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, was apparently illegally removed from his position "during an unlawfully convened continuation of the Council meeting that took place on Monday".

Following a dramatic turn of events on Monday, the DA-led coalition government that had governed the Bay since the 2016 Local Government Elections was booted out of office.

Former Deputy Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, who is the United Democratic Movement's (UDM) Regional Chairperson, bounced back as the new Executive Mayor, replacing the DA's Trollip, with whom he had a fall out with last year over allegations of fraud resulting in Bobani's removal from the postion of Deputy Mayor.

He promptly announced his new Mayoral Committee, whose majority members are from the ANC.

The re-instated postion of the Deputy Mayor also went to the ANC as well as the positions of Council Speaker and Council Chief Whip.

"The DA, ACDP, COPE and PA are confident that we will succeed in our application.

"The continuation of said council meeting, presided over by a provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs official, was unlawful and invalid," the parties said.

Their legal challenge is based on Section 36(3) of the Municipal Structures Act (117 of 1998), which states that, “The municipal manager of the municipality or, if the municipal manager is not available, a person designated by the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs in the province, presides over the election of a speaker”.

"After City Manager, Johann Mettler, left the chamber having declared that the meeting did not quorate, Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Fikile Xasa, erroneously invoked Section 36(3) and designated an individual to preside over one item: The election of a Speaker," the parties argue. 

"It is an undisputed truth that the City Manager, Johann Mettler, was in fact at all times available and remained so for the full duration of this unlawfully convened continuation of said council meeting.

"As such, the election of a new Speaker, the subsequent passing of a Motion of No Confidence in the Executive Mayor, the election of a new Executive Mayor and the election of a Deputy Executive Mayor, were all illegal and invalid."

The parties further accuse the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the UDM and other similar small parties of "actively attempting to hand Nelson Mandela Bay back to the very thieves and crooks, who had previously brought the metro to its knees".

"Already we have seen the use of blue lights by Cllr Bobani, the excessive procurement of catering, the hosting of glamorous and glitzy parties and the convening of meetings with disgraced and dismissed former employees, such as Mod Ndoyana. They will have to answer to the voters for this," the parties said.

"During the coalition government’s 24 months in government, great strides were made in turning Nelson Mandela Bay around and making real progress. 

"We will not allow a corrupt illegal government to continue in office, stealing public money and grinding service delivery to a halt."

The parties reminded residents that Athol Trollip, Nqaba Bhanga, Siyasanga Sijadu, Lance Grootboom, Marlon Daniels and "our coalition government have made significant progress in the work of stopping corruption, delivering better services and creating jobs".

"This work will continue. One City One Future."

The legal challenge came just as the ANC welcomed the new administration.