UDM drops bid to remove council speaker Jonathan Lawack
The UDM has abandoned its efforts to remove Nelson Mandela Bay council speaker Jonathan Lawack, conceding it does not have sufficient support.
This comes after Patriotic Alliance councillor Marlon Daniels, who would have been the opposition’s kingmaker, backed out earlier in August to support the DA-led coalition government.
The EFF, however, plans to forge ahead with its no-confidence motion against mayor Athol Trollip on Monday.
The EFF’s Zilindile Vena, who tabled the motion, said its plans would not be reduced to relying on Daniels and council business would continue.
UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani said: “We will withdraw that motion. We don’t have the numbers.
“We’ll continue with the business of council and focus on bringing service delivery.”
ANC councillor Mbulelo Gidane, whose motion is for the reinstatement of the deputy mayor position, said he would table it in council on Monday unless instructed otherwise.
Thsonono Buyeye, from the African Independent Congress (AIC), said that win or lose the motions would be debated.
Buyeye said the opposition parties had not met since the August 16 council meeting.
“We know the positions of the black caucus so we did not see the need to meet,” he said.
For the EFF’s motion to succeed, it would need 61 votes out of 120.
The DA, ACDP, COPE and PA have a combined 60 seats, and the opposition parties – the UDM, ANC, EFF, AIC and United Front – also have 60.
To oust Trollip, the opposition needs the help of lone PA councillor Daniels.
Party bosses from the AIC, UF, EFF and the ANC failed to reach an agreement on who would be the mayor of the Bay if the motion succeeded and subsequently deferred the decision to the Bay councillors.
After a late-night meeting in Port Elizabeth on August 15, PA president Gayton McKenzie withdrew his party’s support to oust Trollip.
The opposition leaders had wanted to know why the EFF had backtracked after it had been decided that Daniels would replace Trollip.
In a statement on social media, the EFF said the PA was made up of “thugs” and “unrepentant fraudsters”.
The attempts to remove Trollip started on November 30 2017, when Daniels brought his first motion, seconded by Bobani.
It was defeated 65-54 after Trollip was saved by the EFF.
Then, on March 29, a meeting degenerated into hours of chaos, culminating in Daniels and Buyeye supporting the DA.
A meeting on April 10 also descended into chaos.
On May 10, the opposition withdrew their motions and, on May 24, the councillors walked out of the chambers.