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Jonathan Lawack removed as Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Speaker

By Afikile Lugunya - Aug 27, 2018
Jonathan Lawack removed as Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Speaker

Despite having fewer numbers, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality opposition parties on Monday managed to remove Council Speaker, Jonathan Lawack, following drama at Council. 

This is as the parties seek the ouster of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, and the entire Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition government.

Initially, six opposition parties, the African National Congress (ANC), the United Democratic Movement (UDM), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the African Independent Congress (AIC), the United Front (UF) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) supported the bid to oust Trollip and the entire DA-led coalition.

The opposition parties had a combined 61 seats in the 120-seat Council against the DA-led coalition's 59 seats, which includes seats from the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Congress of the People (COPE).

However, at the eleventh hour, the PA announced that it had decided not to vote against Trollip and the coalition, which would effectively bring voting to a stalemate.

The UDM's Regional Chairperson, Mongameli Bobani, who once served as Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Deputy Executive Mayor until he had a fall out with Trollip, moved the motion against Lawack, which was seconded by the EFF.

During the voting, a DA Councillor, Mxolisi Manyathi, abstained from voting - effectively handing the opposition parties a 60/59 win when the votes were tallied.

Manyathi surprised everyone especially the DA councillors when he didn't raise his hand when those against the removal of the Speaker were asked to show by raising their hands.

He has since said that he doesn't want to comment much about why he didn't vote for Lawack to remain the Speaker.

"Most of the black DA Councillors are planning on moving away from the DA - it's not only me, but others when they move away from the DA, they are being victimised," he said.

"I have to have a strategy to move away from the DA - I don't want to comment much, but I'm just saying that black Councillors are moving away from the DA for their personal reasons."

Opposition parties were now trying to "protect" him from being "victimised" by the DA.

Lawack, who is a DA member, has since left the Council chambers.

He was elected Speaker of Council in 2016 after the DA managed to win the Local Government Elections held in August that year.

However, the DA did not secure an outright majority and entered into coalition agreements with various smaller parties in order to keep the ousted ANC at bay.

The UDM has since left that coalition.

At the time of publishing, Councillors were in the process of electing a new Speaker, who will preside over the motions against Trollip and other coalition members.

The council meeting will resume at 14:00

More to follow...

Main image: DA Councillor, Mxolisi Manyathi

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