Tempers flare in Nelson Mandela Bay council

Nelson Mandela Bay council chamber
Nelson Mandela Bay council chamber
Image: Nomazima Nkosi

Tempers flared in the Nelson Mandela Bay council chambers on Thursday afternoon as Patriotic Alliance councillor Marlon Daniels almost came to blows with DA councillor Gustav Rautenbach.

Daniels threatened to "moer" Rautenbach after the latter told him to be quiet.

Daniels went as far as jumping over the tables in an attempt to get to Rautenbach but he was stopped by other councillors.

"Ek het lank las n boer gemoer, [loosely translated: I haven't beaten a white person in a long time]" Daniels said as he pointed at Rautenbach.

Earlier on, a scuffle almost broke out when speaker Buyelwa Mafaya ordered DA councillor Victor Manyati to return to his seat.

Until then Manyati had been sitting with the ANC.  Councillors started pushing each other and forcefully flung chairs around before eventually calming down.

Meanwhile, the issue of insourcing former Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism staff became a heated debate as the DA maintained that it was illegal for the city to do so without a new organogram in place. 

They argued that the insourcing of the 23 staff, on six-month contracts, would strain the municipality's finances and further bloat the city's wage bill.

The EFF, PA, UF and the ANC, however, insisted that the insourcing of the staff was well withing the prescripts of the law.

The DA said the according to the municipal financial systems act, the report on incorporating the function of marketing tourism should have been tabled along with a staff establishment document.

DA councillor Annette Lovemore said the insourcing would plunge the city into a crisis.

"The decision to insource the NMB tourism staff was in principle and not immediately.

"The mayor's recommendation to insource staff that did not have existing job descriptions would be unlawful.

"We can't put people in a position that are not on the staff establishment," Lovemore said.

DA councillor Nqaba Bhanga said insourcing more people into the municipality would bloat the wage bill.

"We must apply our mind on the municipal structure and Systems Act when we make these decisions."

"This is illegal. We are disbanding an entity that is key in promoting our city," Bhanga said.

Bhanga said Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism was established there for a purpose.

He added that the city would also lose out on expertise that were provided by the entity.

EFF councillor Zilindile Vena said the DA was simply anti-insourcing.

"We are already paying a director for tourism but we also pay other people to do the work. We are saying the actual people who are doing the work are a problem. Why can't the state lead this? We can't go on like this," Vena said.

ANC councillor in charge of economic development and tourism Queenie Pink challenged the DA to take them to court.

"When we insourced the security guards, the DA distanced themselves. It's no wonder we are still struggling to insource the rest of them. We are going to insource as much as we can.

"If it is illegal you can take us to court; we will meet you there. There is budget available because we were already giving NMBT money," Pink said.