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NMB Council resumes, IEC deals blow to DA's Lutho Sokudela

By Afikile Lugunya - Sep 27, 2018
NMB Council resumes, IEC deals blow to DA's Lutho Sokudela

Attention will again fall on the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council, which is expected to continue with a special Council meeting that was postponed on Tuesday after descending into chaos.

The focus though will be on the fight between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and its rogue Councillor, Mbulelo Victor Manyathi, who the party says is no longer a DA Councillor in the Metro despite a Port Elizabeth High Court ruling that he is until such a time that he decides to resign or when the party has concluded internal disciplinary processes against him.

To further embarrassment for the DA, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday also announced in a letter that it recognises Manyathi as the lawful DA Councillor and not his replacement, Lutho Sokudela, whom the DA sworn in at the beginning of September.

The IEC had early on declared Manyathi’s seat vacant after the DA had summarily terminated his membership after the events of 27 August, in which he aided in the removal of then Speaker, Jonathan Lawack, which paved the way for the removal of Athol Trollip as Mayor and the entire DA-led coalition government.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council chaos

The chaos at Tuesday’s special Council Meeting happened after the DA brought in Sokudela into the Council Chambers, which effectively meant there were 121 Councillors in a 120-seat Council since Manyathi was also present. He sat within the African National Congress (ANC) benches though despite being a DA Councillor.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Speaker, Buyelwa Mafaya, then asked security to remove Sokudela from the Chamber as he is not a recognised Councillor at which the DA Councillors formed a wall to protect him - resulting in the Council chaos.

Obscenities were thrown around as were chairs while Councillors and security were involved in a tussle to the amazement of those sitting in the public gallery.

Even the City Manager, Johann Mettler, whose future was apparently on the agenda for the meeting, was seen among the chaos.

Apparently a threat of “bloodshed” in the Chamber was thrown at the Speaker by the Democratic Alliance's (DA) former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Budget and Treasury MMC, Retief Odendaal. He denied it to RNEWS.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, later blamed the DA, which is now the official opposition in the Bay, for coming to the meeting with an agenda for chaos and for not respecting the rulings of the courts.

DA councillors were defending their rights

The leader of the DA in the Eastern Cape, Nqaba Bhanga, described what happened on Tuesday as a group of Councillors, who were fighting for their rights, nothing more, nothing less.

"It is the ANC and the EFF who are famous for chaos not us, what we do is fight for our right," he described.

When asked if the events of Tuesday would play out again on Thursday, Bhanga said that he doesn't know what will happen, but they will fight for their rights as Councillors.

He also could not say if the DA will again bring in Lutho Sokudela at the Council meeting, adding; "I don't have tomorrow's register, so I wouldn't know, who will attend and who will not."

Odendaal also added about Manyathi; “He looks comfortable in the ANC sits and if they want him then they can have him."

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