Athol Trollip’s detractors will need to spend the next two weeks lobbying at least three other political parties for their full backing if fresh attempts to oust him as Nelson Mandela Bay mayor are to succeed.
Come month end, the Patriotic Alliance (PA), UDM and United Front (UF) intend to raise two council motions to remove Trollip and speaker Jonathan Lawack.
They accuse the two of undermining the council and failing to carry out their duties with regard to the appointments of metro bosses Johann Mettler and Vuyo Zitumane.
To succeed, the motions by the PA’s Marlon Daniels and the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani, supported by the UF’s Mkhuseli Mtsila, will need the backing of the ANC, the EFF and the AIC to make up a 61 vote majority.
The DA and coalition partners Cope and the ACDP make up 59 votes in the council at present.
The ANC has 50, the EFF 6, the UDM 2, and the PA, UF and AIC each have one seat.
Daniels said yesterday that all the opposition parties, including the EFF, would hold a media conference to discuss their filed intention.
“We have taken a decision not to disclose anything at the moment until all opposition parties hold a press conference within the next 24 hours,” Daniels said.
However, EFF leader in the council, Zilindile Vena, denied any knowledge of the motions.
ANC leader in the council, Bicks Ndoni, said the party had not been approached to discuss the motion.
“Surely they will come to us close to the council meeting – we will then examine and see what their reasons are,” he said.
“This thing is all about numbers. I won’t comment until the matter has been brought to us.”
Lawack confirmed he had received both intentions on Thursday and said they would be included in the council agenda.
He declined to comment on the motion to have him removed.
“I cannot comment because that is for the council.
“It must first be made public before council – the councillor who submitted the motion is within his or her right,” Lawack said.
This is a second attempt by opposition parties to remove Trollip, after a first by the ANC fell flat in February.
Daniels and Bobani have teamed up after both falling out with Trollip at different stages this year.
Bobani, who is also a coalition partner, was removed from his position as deputy mayor on August 24 when the majority of councillors voted on a motion filed by Daniels.
At the time, Daniels, who was in coalition with the DA, was eyeing the deputy mayor position.
However, he turned on Trollip after the DA failed to support his ambition.
In the latest motion, Daniels wrote that Trollip had disregarded the power of Cooperative Governance MEC Fikile Xasa.
Xasa has not rubberstamped the appointments of Mettler and Zitumane –as required – after raising concerns about the process through which they were hired.
The municipality, however, believes the appointments were done in line with legislation.
In May, Xasa took the matter to the Grahamstown High Court and called for Mettler’s appointment to be declared null and void.
Xasa’s spokesman, Mamnkeli Ngam said the matter was ready to be heard.
“We are still waiting for the date of the hearing, otherwise the matter is ready.”
Daniels wrote that Trollip had disrespected the council “as he never disclosed the non-occurrence of the above-mentioned senior manager’s employment”.
He wrote that Trollip “continues to disrespect the council and gives powers to his DA to deal with council matters.
“I therefore move that Mr Trollip be removed from his duties with immediate effect as he has disrespected and misled this municipality resulting in a lawsuit.”
The motion by Daniels was seconded by Bobani, while Bobani’s motion against the speaker was seconded by Mtsila.
Bobani also declined to comment yesterday.
DA chief whip Werner Senekal said the grounds for the motion were completely baseless.
“We have been expecting this motion – the Municipal Structures Act does not require reasons to be given for the removal of the said office-bearers.
“It appears that the two councillors and their parties wish to see the return of the ANC government in Nelson Mandela Bay that voters rejected on August 3 2016,” he said.