Court must decide if Nqaba Bhanga is rightful Bay mayor - Mandla George
Nelson Mandela Bay acting city manager Mandla George will approach the Port Elizabeth High Court to decide whether or not Nqaba Bhanga is the city's rightful mayor.
In a statement issued on Sunday, George said he had noted the disputes that had arisen since Bhanga's election at a chaotic December 4 council meeting.
"I have taken notes of the disputes, both factual and legal, which have arisen regarding the appointment of the acting speaker and executive mayor of the Metropolitan Municipality on 4 December 2020.
"I have also taken note of the stances adopted by various persons and political parties with regard to the aforesaid appointments.
"The MEC for Cogta has also, publicly, expressed certain views in this regard. Having considered the matter, and having sought and obtained independent legal advice, it is clear that it is not in the interests of the municipality for these disputes and uncertainties to remain unresolved.
"Under these circumstances, I have decided, on advice, that, in my capacity as acting municipal manager, it is necessary to institute proceedings in the High Court for appropriate declaratory relief, including declaratory relief as to the lawfulness or otherwise of the aforesaid appointments," George wrote.
Earlier this week co-operative governance MEC Xolile Nqatha said Bhanga's election was “wrongful, unlawful and null and void”.
This, Nqatha said was because the election of Patriotic Alliance councillor Marlon Daniels as acting speaker after speaker Buyelwa Mafaya was forcefully removed from chambers, was wrong because it was not presided over by George or an official from Cogta that attended the chaotic meeting.
In a letter to Mafaya, dated December 8, Nqatha said he took the decision after getting a report from George regarding Friday’s meeting.
George has since said he would write to Nqatha to correct the report he submitted, telling him that he was in the chamber when Daniels was nominated.
He maintained he had left the meeting before there was an election of an acting speaker.
George said all interested parties would then have the opportunity to air their respective versions before the court.
"To that effect, the current executive mayor elected [Bhanga] at the council meeting on 4 December 2020 will remain and discharge his responsibilities until such time that the court can decide otherwise."
George said he had not taken the decision lightly, but he was convinced that approaching the courts was the best way forward.
"The proceedings for declaratory relief in the local High Court will be instituted on a semi-urgent basis early in the New Year," George said.
This is a developing story.
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