Jordaan deployed to special ‘elections’ campaign team
After two months of speculation regarding the role former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan would play in the new council administration, the ANC’s regional leadership announced his resignation yesterday as opposition leader in council.
While the regional task team (RTT) was adamant that Jordaan remained a loyal and disciplined member of the party, questions remain regarding his deployment to a special “elections” team that will be responsible for increasing votes in the northern areas and southern suburbs of the metro ahead of the 2019 and 2021 elections.
“This is not a demotion. Not at all. It is actually a promotion to be given a responsibility of this magnitude,” RTT coordinator Beza Ntshona said.
During a media briefing at the ANC’s regional headquarters, Florence Matomela House, yesterday, Ntshona – together with deputy party leader in council Bicks Ndoni and ANC caucus whip Litho Suka – said Jordaan had resigned to take up the new responsibility.
Ntshona said Ndoni was assuming the role of party leader in council following Jordaan’s resignation as a councillor with immediate effect.
“We had a lot of engagement with him and we have agreed as an organisation … he can assume a specific role.”
Jordaan was not present at the briefing and when asked about his absence, Ntshona said: “He was not going to be part of this. He has been given other responsibilities, so there was no need for him to attend.”
Ntshona said the ANC had taken a decision following its recent regional consultative conference that, as it prepares for the national government elections in 2019 and the next local government elections in 2021, Jordaan was the right person to lead a team of councillors who would be responsible for campaigning and canvassing for votes in the northern areas and southern suburbs of the Bay.
“Quite a number of people who have registered [to vote] come from the northern areas and the southern suburbs, so while we are intensifying our efforts in our own traditional areas, we do need a team that will be focusing in the northern areas,” he said.
However, he failed to elaborate on what exactly Jordaan’s specific duties and responsibilities would be ahead of the 2019 elections.
Suka said while Ndoni was the new opposition leader in council, Jordaan’s vacancy would be filled by the next candidate on the ANC’s PR list – Afrika Maqolo.
The ANC had previously given contradictory statements about Jordaan’s absence at council meetings and the recent regional consultative conference resulted in increased speculation about his role in the party.
Ntshona, Suka and Ndoni conceded that Jordaan had not attended any of the three council meetings held since the new administration was sworn in.
They said as a result of the chaos at the first council meeting, Jordaan and several councillors had been barred from attending.
Jordaan was then granted “leave” following months of vigorous campaigning ahead of the elections and coalition talks later, which he had also actively participated in.
They declined to comment on reports that Jordaan had attended to SA Football Association responsibilities in Johannesburg.
But two ANC insiders said that since the ANC lost the elections, Jordaan had been working behind the scenes trying to contest the election results and calculation of PR seats.
They claimed he had never had any intention of taking up the position as opposition leader.
One councillor said: “He was a mayor. So, how can you take a mayor and make him an ordinary councillor?
“It doesn’t work that way. Also, the pay is not the same. It would be a demotion for him.”
Another ANC insider said Jordaan – although he had initially attended party caucus meetings in preparation for council meetings – had been absent from meetings in recent weeks.
“He was never going to take up that [opposition leader] position,” the insider claimed.
ANC MPL Christian Martin said: “We must remember that he [Jordaan] was deployed to the metro for a certain task.
“He brought political stability and financial stability to the metro.
“He also brought in investors and has done a lot for the metro, so his deployment here was a success.
“He was deployed here to win the metro and that did not happen for a range of reasons. It is now time to go back to the drawing board.”
Attempts to contact Jordaan yesterday were unsuccessful.
His wife, Roxanne, also declined to comment on his resignation. “You will have to speak to him,” she said.
ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa said: “The decision to deploy comrade Danny was a regional decision and a provincial decision, but obviously … we are aware of the decision and we accepted his resignation.”
Kodwa said he could not comment on the reasons behind the deployment and whether it amounted to a demotion.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said: “The ANC there [in Nelson Mandela Bay] held a media briefing and I am aware of what was said. I am aware of the developments.”
Nelson Mandela Bay speaker Jonathan Lawack said that according to the council’s administrative process, Jordaan had submitted his resignation to city manager Johann Mettler, who had then notified him (Lawack) of the councillor vacancy.
He said Mettler had received Jordaan’s resignation yesterday.
“I was notified of that vacancy by the city manager so I can confirm that he [Jordaan] is no longer a councillor,” Lawack said.
Mettler said he had received Jordaan’s resignation around noon via e-mail.
He had then informed Lawack as a matter of courtesy and declared the vacancy to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
He said the IEC had not yet informed him which ANC PR councillor candidate would fill the vacancy. – Additional reporting by Rochelle de Kock