The Democratic Alliance plans a legal challenge to Monday’s ousting of Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip.
Party leader Mmusi Maimane said a “coalition of corruption” made up of the ANC‚ UDM and EFF had undermined the will of the electorate by “unlawfully removing” Port Elizabeth’s DA-led coalition government.
“We are of the opinion that the [council] sitting was procedurally invalid and lacked legitimate authority to legally elect a new speaker‚ and then subsequently pass the motion of no confidence in the executive mayor‚” Maimane told a news conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The motion was passed with the help of DA councillor Mbulelo Manyati‚ who abstained from voting‚ and the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani was elected as the new mayor. Earlier‚ speaker Jonathan Lawack was ousted.
Maimane said: “This was a mock council meeting that elected a mock government‚ and we are of the view that yesterday’s proceedings are invalid in law.
“We categorically denounce this move and call it out for what it was – a political coup by this coalition of corruption hellbent on re-establishing patronage networks that enrich the few at the expense of the many.”
The DA leader said the party’s legal challenge was based on a clause in the Municipal Structures Act which said the municipal manager must preside over the election of a new speaker.
Because Nelson Mandela Bay manager Johann Mettler did not do so‚ the election of the ANC’s Buyelwa Mafaya as speaker and the vote of no confidence in Trollip — which was supervised by Mafaya — were invalid.
Maimane said the DA’s opponents preyed on Manyathi’s “legal and financial vulnerability to lure him into treachery. We have in any case served him notice of intention to cessate his DA membership.”