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Trollip vote council meeting 'permanently adjourned'

Tuesday's Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality council meeting which was meant to decide on the fate of mayor Athol Trollip was 'permanently adjourned'.
Tuesday's Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality council meeting which was meant to decide on the fate of mayor Athol Trollip was 'permanently adjourned'.
Image: Werner Hills

A second Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting, in as many weeks, which was meant to decide on the fate of mayor Athol Trollip descended into chaos on Tuesday.

Speaker of council Jonathan Lawack permanently adjourned the meeting even before the six motions on the agenda were debated.

This means that the no-confidence motions against Trollip, Lawack and chief whip Werner Senekal fall away.

The opposition would need to petition Lawack with 61 signatures to hold a special sitting to debate the motions again.

The chaos started when - in paying tribute to stalwarts Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Chris Hani - the ANC, EFF and the rest of the opposition refused to allow DA councillor Nqaba Bhanga to speak.

They hummed and sang, drowning out his voice.

The ANC’s Makhi Feni, backed by Andile Lungisa, called Bhanga a “murderer of two girls” who should not be allowed to speak about someone of Madikizela-Mandela’s stature.

Bhanga’s bodyguard was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Missionvale, Port Elizabeth, last year in which two people died.

Bhanga was not in the vehicle at the time.

The EFF’s Zilindile Vena said that Bhanga stands “for everything that was against what Mama Mandela stood for”.

“He can’t speak because he is standing for everything Mama Winnie stood against. She stood for land.

“We are saying stop wasting five minutes on allowing councillor Bhanga to speak,” Vena said.

Lungisa said: “You cannot have a person of Bhanga’s stature paying tribute to Mama Winnier after killing two girls.”

Lawack struggled to keep the meeting under control, saying the councillors - who raised several points of order - were wasting time.

Councillor after councillor raised their hands, shouting “point of order”, while the EFF’s Vena accused Lawack of suspending the rules by ignoring them.

Eventually, he tried to get on to discussing the council agenda, but the ANC and EFF refused to allow it, saying he was biased in applying the rules of council.

Lawack, who had warned at the start of the meeting that he would permanently halt the proceedings should the meeting turn into chaos again, then adjourned the sitting permanently.

After the meeting, Lungisa said: “We cannot have Bhanga paying tribute to Mama Winnie with a dark cloud of murdering two girls hovering above him after recklessly”.

Responding to the allegations after the meeting, Bhanga said: “My bodyguard was in an accident. Two people died, and I was not in the car.

“How do you become a murderer when I did not have a weapon and I was not in the car? I was far away from the car.

“It was my bodyguard in the accident, that story is long since out there. But they wanted to break me down.

“They are not going to break me down. There are processes as we speak.”

Trollip said there was a clear plan by the opposition to disrupt the meeting.

“The political parties will now have to get 61 signatures if they want those motions to be placed back on the table.”

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