Here we go again!
Trollip in the firing line once more...
Nelson Mandela Bay could have a new coalition government in place before the end of next week.
That is if all the opposition parties, together with coalition partner the Patriotic Alliance (PA), follow through with their decision taken on Thursday to oust Athol Trollip as mayor.
The opposition parties, with the PA, hold a combined 61-seat majority in the council of 120 seats.
The DA, COPE and ACDP together have 59 seats, while the ANC has 50, the EFF six, the UDM two and the PA, AIC and United Front one each.
At a meeting at the Summerstrand Hotel in Port Elizabeth, leaders from the ANC, EFF, UDM, AIC, PA and United Front took a decision to remove Trollip through yet another no-confidence motion.
They would then join forces to put a new coalition government together, the parties confirmed on Thursday.
Among those at the meeting were the ANC’s Faith Muthambi, EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, the United Front’s Zanoxolo Wayile, PA president Gayton McKenzie and AIC secretary-general Mahlubi Jafta.
Jafta said the opposition councillors were in the process of obtaining the signatures of 61 councillors to petition speaker Jonathan Lawack to convene a special council meeting by Friday next week.
“This is not about the removal of Trollip. The whole administration needs to change. The DA administration needs to be removed,” Jafta said.
At the meeting, the councillors had discussed the problems they encountered in their communities, with the main issue being that the poor in the Bay were not a priority for the DA-led coalition, he said.“They are focused on white communities only,” Jafta said.
McKenzie, whose party is a member of the coalition with the DA, COPE and ACDP, said they could “no longer be blind” to the land evictions of black and coloured residents.
“We are removing this administration,” he said.
“[The] Bay needs new and fresh leadership – leadership that will not have youth run to Joburg for opportunities. Huge changes [are] coming.”
The move comes four months after McKenzie’s party jumped into bed with the DA for a second time, saving Trollip from the second no-confidence motion against him.
At the time, McKenzie said the PA could not support the EFF’s bid to oust Trollip on the basis of the fact that he is white.
The PA’s sole councillor in the Bay, Marlon Daniels, was then given a position in Trollip’s executive committee.
The PA was also in partnership with the DA-led coalition last year after Trollip’s relationship with the UDM soured.
The PA and DA parted ways after five months when the PA’s demand for the deputy mayor position was not acceded to.
The UDM’s Bay leader, and former deputy mayor, Mongameli Bobani, said the opposition parties had decided to form a new coalition and that positions would be discussed at a later stage.
UDM president Bantu Holomisa did not attend the meeting as he missed his connecting flight from Durban.But Bobani, who was given the mandate to represent the party, said: “We’ll work out the intricacies as time goes on, but we know we can’t operate in a vacuum so we’ll have to sit down, draft policies and a manifesto.
“There’s no winner here but we have to work in a uniform manner for the people of Nelson Mandela Bay,” he said.
“It’s important for us to set aside our differences and work today.
“Residents of the metro have suffered enough under Trollip, and unemployment in the city is high and we want people to get the services they need.”Bobani assured residents and international visitors participating in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship that the event would go ahead as planned.
“It’ll be nice to see Trollip being a spectator,” he said.
“He won’t be cutting any ribbons for the event.
“He must not leave council, we’d love to have him in the opposition benches.”
ANC regional secretary Themba Xathula confirmed that Muthambi had represented the party at the meeting.
He said the PA and the AIC were pushing for a motion to remove Trollip.
“We are supporting that motion,” Xathula said.
Wayile and Gardee did not respond to requests for comment.
Trollip declined to comment, while DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga said: “They’ve done it before and they’re doing it again.
“We’ll face it as it comes – we’ve faced many votes of no confidence, but what we’re doing right now is focusing on the work that we’re doing.”
He said they were delivering services to residents.
Bhanga said claims that the coalition government only focused on white areas were not true. The entire metro was a construction zone due to work being done across the city.
“You go to Motherwell, Kwazakhele and the northern areas, we’re building roads.
“We’re delivering services for everybody in Nelson Mandela Bay.
“All infrastructure and capital expenditure is in the historically disadvantaged communities,” he said.