Two conflicting notices filed by NMBM causes confusion

DA councillors and some of its coalition partners
DA councillors and some of its coalition partners
Image: Eugene Coetzee

Two notices, both claiming to be acting on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, were filed on Tuesday in the case involving the DA and its coalition partners, COPE, the ACDP and Patriotic Alliance.

The parties believe the meeting at which Athol Trollip was ousted as mayor was illegal and want the decisions set aside by a court.

While the one notice, filed by city manager Johann Mettler, states that the municipality will abide by whatever the Port Elizabeth High Court decides, a second notice – submitted on the instructions of mayor Mongameli Bobani – says the municipality will oppose the case.

This has left attorney Lunen Meyer – who is representing the DA and oth-ers – scratching his head about what the city’s stance actually is. “It is very peculiar,” Meyer said.

“I received a notice to abide from [Mettler] and the municipality as well as a notice to oppose, also from the municipality, which is very strange.”

Meyer confirmed that he had also received notices to oppose from speaker Buyelwa Mafaya, Bobani, deputy mayor Thsonono Buyeye and chief whip Bicks Ndoni.

He had also received notices from the EFF, UDM, ANC and AIC. The respondents had until Tuesday to file notices of their intention to oppose the case.

They have until September 13 to file their opposing papers.

Mettler said the only instruction he gave was that the city would be neutral in the case and not oppose it. “I’ve given no other instruction,” he said on Tuesday afternoon.

Bobani confirmed that he had given the instruction that the city should oppose the case.

“As the executive mayor, I have the responsibility to ensure that we are defending the municipality against the DA,” he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Wikus van Rensburg confirmed he had filed papers on behalf of the UDM, AIC, EFF and ANC on their intention to oppose the DA’s court motion.

“I’ve been instructed by my clients to write the opposing papers and file them by September 13,” he said.

“Myself and two other advocates will set up a consult with our clients to draft up what they want to go in the papers.”

Attorney Ntsikelelo Mbewana said he had filed his notice to oppose the DA and others on behalf of his clients – the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, Bobani, Buyeye, Mafaya, Ndoni and Mettler.

Asked who had given the instruction to represent the municipality and Mettler, Mbewana said: “I cannot comment on that.

I’m working on an urgent application.” Listed as the eighth respondent in the court papers is DA councillor Mbulelo Manyati.

He paved the way for Bobani to be mayor after he voted against his party. Manyati’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, said they would oppose the case.

“We are currently work- ing on our notice to oppose and we will be submitting it,” Mabuza said.

Mabuza confirmed that advocate Dali Mpofu would be representing them in the matter.

By close of business on Tuesday, Meyer had not received a notice from co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Fikile Xasa, who is listed as the first respondent in the court papers, and the Cogta official who presided over the election of the speaker, Jenny Roestorff, on Monday last week.

Xasa said late on Tuesday his legal team had filed to oppose on behalf of him- self and Roestorff.

According to Meyer, Manyati had not yet filed any intention to oppose the matter. – Additional reporting by Rochelle de Kock