Ricochet News

'We're still not happy with the budget, but couldn't see the Metro placed under administration' AIC

By Afikile Lugunya - Jun 13, 2018
'We're still not happy with the budget, but couldn't see the Metro placed under administration' AIC

The African Independent Congress (AIC), which on Wednesday cast the vote that broke the deadlock over the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's R12 billion 2018/2019 budget  says it is still not happy with the budget, but just had to make sure that the Metro is not placed under administration.

Speaking to RNEWS, the AIC's Cllr Tshonono Buyeye said; "As we said yesterday, we have issues with the budget, but the thought of the municipality going under government administration was the deciding factor for us.

"We had concerns, which we raised, some have been [corrected] and some have not, but all in all we have decided as a party to support it." 

The AIC is understood to have also broke rank with other opposition parties and voted with the Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition as a way to punish the African National Congress (ANC) over the issue of taking Matatiele back to the Kwazulu Natal province. The AIC wants the municipality back in the KZN, but the ANC provincial leadership could not commit to that when Councillors met on Wednesday morning.

The DA-led coalition needed 61 votes to break the impasse in the 120-seat Council. Besides, the DA (with 57 seats), it is the Congress of the People (COPE), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) - with one seat each, who are supporting the budget. 

On one hand, the official opposition in the Nelson Mandela Bay, the ANC has 50 votes, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), which was once part of the DA-led coalition until last year and has two seats, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has six seats, and the United Front (UF), which has one seat, said that they will not support the proposed budget because it doesn't carter for the needs of the poor in the Metro.

That resulted in a stalemate, which could only be broken by the AIC vote, which had also previously stated they would not support the budget.

However, on Tuesday, after promising to support the budget, the AIC's Councillor disappeared before voting could begin.

On Wednesday, the ANC, the official opposition party in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, did not enter the Council Chambers in protest, and said that they still do not support the budget as it does not address the needs of the poor residents in their 50 wards.

Former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Deputy Mayor, who is the UDM Regional Chairperson, Mongameli Bobani, who didn't show up at Wednesday's Council Meeting, said that the UDM is still sticking to its guns because the budget is anti-poor. 

"Our people are going to be more poor because there were no public participation especially the wards," said Bobani.

"This is a sad day for the people of because the Democratic Alliance smuggled the budget by playing the AIC."

Meanwhile, the UF, through its Councillor, Mkhuseli Mtsila, said: "We are not really happy because it doesn't represent the interests of the poor so we are not happy". 

Speaking on behalf of the DA-led coalition, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, said that they were very "delighted" that the budget has been passed. 

He also thanked cllr Mtsila for being present at Council and thanked the AIC for sticking to the commitment they made yesterday. 

Trollip added that their main concern is to put the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality first and "they don't sleep because there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work". 

"The art of politics is to get the job done and today we were able to do just that. 

"It takes time and a lot of behind-the-scenes work and we will continue to do that whatever it takes to put the people of the Metro first we will continue to do that," Trollip said.