[Secret Recording ] ‘It was all about Athol Trollip’

Recording reveals why Marlon Daniels pulled out of DA-led coalition

A secret recording made hours before the Patriotic Alliance pulled out of its alliance with the DA in Nelson Mandela Bay for a second time reveals how Marlon Daniels accused the party of being centred around Athol Trollip with no regard for any of the other coalition partners.
He lambasted the DA for running a “Save Athol Trollip” campaign when all councillors and coalition partners – the ACDP, COPE and PA – had felt the sting of being ousted from government.
Addressing the councillors of the DA, COPE and ACDP at the Gelvandale Stadium on Wednesday last week, Daniels gave them a dressing down, ultimately explaining why he was pulling out of the agreement.
“When this impasse came, when you guys sold out, you started running campaigns all over, standing on corners hooting, blowing, doing what you’re doing to ‘save Athol Trollip’,” he said.
“I have never heard anyone saying ‘Save Jonathan Lawack’, ‘Save Werner Senekal’, ‘Save all the MMCs’ respectively including the ACDP, [Siyasanga] Sijadu [COPE] and Daniels.
“You cannot run a party centred around one individual, especially not in a coalition. You can’t do that.
“The public meetings in Chatty and other areas you were saying ‘save the mayor’. Were the others not feeling the knock?
“Are there no others to consider? You guys are getting it wrong, it is not about you.
“Don’t speak as though we are not really relevant or relevant only when we are needed.
“It’s not about you, you can’t even control yourselves.”
In the scathing audio clip, Daniels says he is tired of the other coalition members complaining “in corridors” and not having the guts to say how they feel.
He told The Herald on Wednesday that the dig at the DA and its coalition partners COPE and the ACDP was a warning before he had a meeting with the leaders of his party to decide on whether or not he would remain in the coalition.
He announced subsequently, while all the parties were awaiting the Port Elizabeth High Court judgment to decide on who was the rightful Bay mayor of the city, that he would no longer be part of the coalition.
Daniels’ exit was expected as he had revealed two months earlier that he was considering throwing in the towel again after DA councillors Retief Odendaal and John Best purportedly reneged on a promise to train northern areas youth to be metro police officers.
The two were, at the time, in charge of the budget and treasury and the safety and security portfolio committees, respectively.
“You guys can’t help yourself, you are at the stage in your political career where everything is about you,” Daniels said on the audio clip.
At the centre of what he termed “the final straw”, was a joint media statement drawn up on behalf of the coalition on a DA letterhead. Daniels said this proved that the DA undermined its coalition partners.
“The problem here is that we can’t trust you,” he said.
“Retief [Odendaal], you just lied saying you trust each and every one of us. You are lying because there is more among you that is against you.
“Let’s not cast stones, let’s find out why we have these ones among ourselves in our own midst, working against us.
“Is it not maybe the way you operate the party?”
Daniels was referring to the three DA councillors – Mbulelo Manyati, Neville Higgins and Trevor Louw – who recently turned on the party and voted with their political opponents.
He accused the DA of thinking its 57 seats outweighed the three seats that the ACDP, COPE and PA hold collectively.
“Stop this thing of saying this is a DA-led coalition.
“There is either a coalition or a DA-led government, there isn’t a DA-led coalition.
“But you guys don’t want to listen.
“Over and over, you are doing the same thing – this is not a DA-led coalition.
“You make it as if you guys are leading us, you are not leading us, you are in essence misleading us.
“For how long must we tell you that it’s not about you, you didn’t get enough seats to govern alone so it can never be about you, but you won’t listen,” he said.
Daniels also likens the state of the coalition to a divorce case.
“I am not [a] coward, we speak face to face.
“Let’s deal with the issues and roll with the punches.
“When I leave here, I am going to give you time to have discussions,” he says on the clip.
Daniels advises the DA to stand up for what it believes in and to not centre the party around individuals.
“Never allow a party to be centred around individuals,” he says.
“You guys are undermining every other coalition partner in this relationship.
“I cannot speak for the other parties, but I can confirm that there are sentiments of feeling uneasy.
“I am not forced to be in this relationship.
“I hope you have listened to what I have unpacked and I want you guys to listen to understand and not to respond. “For now, salute,” he said. DA councillor Masixole Zinto is heard on the recording responding to Daniels, saying the party had to rally around Trollip as the EFF had made it clear in its motion to remove the mayor that it was going after him because he was white.
Zinto said the campaign was never about having a problem with the way the coalition was governing, but rather about Trollip as an individual.
It was for this reason that he had stood on a corner with a placard which read “Save Athol Trollip”, Zinto said.
DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga confirmed that the meeting had taken place but dismissed Daniels’s allegations as “gossip”.
“We respect all our coalition partners,” he said.
“Marlon was very happy and I spoke to him on many occasions, but like any relationship there will be issues and all you have to do is resolve them,” Bhanga said.
He said this was a lesson for the DA and it would learn from it going forward.
“We will have new friends in the future but this has taught us that we must analyse anyone we go into partnership with,” Bhanga said.

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