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EFF rumoured to be seeking Trollip's removal as Metro holds Council Meeting

Oct 19, 2017
EFF rumoured to be seeking Trollip's removal as Metro holds Council Meeting

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is on Thursday expected to hold a Council Meeting, amid rumour that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will use the opportunity to call for the removal of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, following months of political drama at City Hall.

As a result, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has been without a Deputy Executive Mayor since August.

The last Council Meeting, in September, did not end well as Speaker, Jonathan Lawack, was forced to adjourn the meeting without debating a single item on the agenda following a boycott by councillors from the United Democratic Movement (UDM), the African National Congress (ANC), EFF and other smaller parties.

At the start of that meeting, only 59 councillors aligned with the Democratic Alliance (DA) were present forcing Lawack, to allow a 10-minute wait in the hope that the other councillors would arrive.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, which has 120 council seats, needs at least 61 councillors to be present for a quorum.

It was during these 10 minutes, that Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor, Marlon Daniels arrived.

Although, a seat was reserved for him as the MMC for Public Health, Daniels took a seat at the back of the room, next to a seat that was reserved for the since ousted Deputy Executive Mayor, the UDM's Mongameli Bobani.

Bobani had failed to pitch despite his assurances when the UDM's application to have him reinstated was thrown out of court.

Since there were only 60 council members present, the council had to adjourn.

“It is with regret that this council meeting couldn’t take place today because there is important business to be dealt with, and that is why we have a municipal council,” explained Trollip, while addressing journalists at City Hall after the adjournment.

“We anticipated that there might be no show at this council meeting by the ANC and the UDM because those are the discussions that have been going on. In fact an instruction was given yesterday by the ANC to its members not to ‘wake up’ this morning and go to council.”

Trollip said that a ruling in the Constitutional Court stated that councillors cannot stay away from council meetings for no good reason - if they do they would be met with consequences.

He explained that according to that ruling, if a councillor misses three consecutive council meetings without an excuse or apology, they could lose their position in council.

The African National Congress (ANC) and a few of the representatives from other parties, who boycotted the council meeting, also held a press briefing to give their reasons for not being in the council chambers.

The party said that they were protesting against council decisions not being adhered to with regards to in-sourcing workers, property rates and the eviction of people from their homes.

“We felt that if we don’t withdraw or boycott the council meeting today, the DA-led administration would be more arrogant,” said United Front (UF) councillor, Mkhuseli Mtsila.

The councillors stated that they do intend to return to council, and would make sure to put their issues on the agenda and have them heard and dealt with in council.

PA leaves DA-led coalition

After the adjournment the Patriotic Alliance announced that it was withdrawing from the DA-led coalition - less than a month after the party the joined the coalition.

The Patriotic Alliance was admitted into the DA-led coalition on the 28th of August just days after its Councillor, Daniels, put through a motion in council that resulted in the booting out of Bobani, as Deputy Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Ahead of that failed council meeting, the Patriotic Alliance gave the DA-led coalition an ultimatum to ensure that Cllr Daniels was elected as the new Deputy Executive Mayor at that council meeting or the party would leave the coalition.

When questioned about the possibility of appointing a new Deputy Executive Mayor to replace Bobani, Trollip stated; “I do not have the unilateral right or power as the Executive Mayor to appoint the Deputy Mayor.

“It’s got to be done in conjunction with all of our coalition partners, and the opportunity to have that discussion has not happened yet.”

Hours later, the Patriotic Alliance announced that it was leaving the DA-led coalition.

The DA called it a non-event.

Daniels has since been removed from his position as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's head of Public Health, which is now again under Trollip's office.

The Patriotic Alliance had threatened that if Daniels was removed from that portfolio, they would have no choice but to join the anti-DA bloc.

While protesting the removal of Bobani, UDM President, Bantu Holomisa, claimed that the Patriotic Alliance had been rewarded with the portfolio for doing the DA's dirty work.

"Again, the flagrant, unmitigated double standard is as appalling as it is shameful.

"It is a fact that the DA encouraged and pressured Members of Parliament to vote their conscience in the August 8 motion of no confidence in President Zuma, and are now sanctioning Bobani for his considered voting record in Council. Yet again, the flagrant, unmitigated double standard is as appalling as it is shameful," Holomisa said then.

"In typical DA baasskap style, the DA ordered an acolyte, Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Marlon Daniels, won over with a mayoral committee seat, and unilaterally invited to join the coalition government, to table the motion is so insulting that more than half the councillors walked out in disgust while the DA Speaker hastily counted remaining heads in an emptying chamber.

"The UDM, a loyal, and the largest DA coalition partner at the time, had not even been consulted on the PA joining ranks. Accordingly, the PA’s inclusion in the coalition government is invalid and of no force and effect. The PA was, apparently, sneaked in to front its new master’s dirty work.

"Quite ridiculous. If the DA can ever be said to be transparent, it is because the DA’s intimidation tactics are so transparent."