Ricochet News

Council meeting adjourned after opposition parties stage walk out

By Afikile Lugunya - May 24, 2018
Council meeting adjourned after opposition parties stage walk out

Council Speaker, Jonathan Lawack, has adjourned the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Council meeting for 10 minutes as there is no quorum for continuation after the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) walked out of the Council Chambers following arguments over the tabling of motions - one, which seeks the removal of Mayor Athol Trollip.

The opposition parties had hoped to retable their motionsto remove Trollip, Council Chief Whip, Werner Senekal, and the Speaker of the Council, Jonathan Lawack, all members of the Democratic Alliance (DA) that is leading a coalition of smaller parties that is running the Bay.

After several previous attempts, the parties were forced to withdraw their motions as per council rules.

Lawack told Councillors that the motions were submitted late by opposition parties. He said that Council Rules stipulate that every motion must be submitted at least 10 clear business days before Council sits.

However, according to his calculations, they were submitted just nine days to Thursday's meeting.

Cllr Zilindile Vena, of the EFF, argued otherwise, by bringing out the Rule book and pointed to Rule 12.3, which he said stated that the motions must be handed over to the Speaker within five working days - hence, nine days means they were handed in time.

Before he could finish his argument, Vena's microphone was switched off as Lawack insisted that his decision was final.

Disgruntled opposition parties accused the speaker of being biased and claimed that he was refusing to abide by the Rule book.

Lawack responded that he "was not in chamber for baby 101". 

Subsequently, the EFF walked out of council refusing to be "in the same room with a partisan Speaker".

A few minutes later, the African National Congress (ANC) also left.

While the ANC was slowly making their way to the door, the Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition Councillors carried on with some motions until all the opposition members left.

The Council was clearly left without a quorum forcing Lawack to adjourn.