Bay municipality must be put under administration – Trollip

Athol Trollip speaking in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday
Athol Trollip speaking in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday
Image: Siyamtanda Capa

DA councillor Athol Trollip has written to co-operative governance (Cogta) minister Zweli Mkhize, asking him to place the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality under administration.

His reasons include that acting city manager Peter Neilson is not qualified for the job and the city is not meeting its spending and collection targets, among other things.

Trollip has also opened a criminal case with respect to the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act against mayor Mongameli Bobani and Neilson.

The case is linked to the recent council decision to cut ties with law firm Gray Moodliar Attorneys.

Trollip claimed that Bobani had pushed for the city to stop doing business with the firm to get the Hawks off his trail for allegedly benefiting from corruption.

He said Neilson had failed to properly advise the council on the implications of cutting ties with Gray Moodliar as the decision could see the city land in trouble with the auditor-general for fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Gray Moodliar had been probing and gathering evidence of corruption and fraud related to the Integrated Public Transport bus system since 2015 while also simultaneously handling high-profile staff disciplinary cases.

Trollip, who was briefing the media at the party's offices in Walmer on Wednesday, said the aim was to have Mkhize deploy the necessary support to the municipality.

This is the DA's second attempt to get Mkhize's attention after the party wrote to him in November 2018.

"It is our opinion that invoking section 154 will bring some form of stability to [the municipality] and provide Cogta with much-needed insight into the current dysfunctional administration of the metro," Trollip said.

"We believe that, should the minister fail to intervene, the metro's already fragile administration will inevitably collapse."

In his letter to Mkhize, he said their concerns included the city's collection rate, which is not where it should be as its stands at 92%, and the low capital expenditure rate, which stands at 33% as at March 31.

He warned that the city would have to forfeit millions of rands if it did not spend its entire budget between now and June 30.

With regard to Neilson, Trollip said his acting tenure continued to put the city at risk.

"Under mayor Bobani, and his coalition of corruption, the metro has seen a massive decline in its financial stability and its ability to deliver basic services.

"The metro is also riddled with corruption and acts of criminality."

In the letter to Mkhize, Trollip wrote: "We furthermore specifically call upon you to consider seconding a suitable candidate to Nelson Mandela Bay as acting city manager given the fact that the incumbent does not possess the necessary competencies nor experience to act in said position."

Trollip said Mkhize had yet to respond to his letters.

He said they would also await a response from Eastern Cape Cogta MEC Fikile Xasa, who was copied in the letter.

Bobani said: "Athol Trollip needs to check into the next mental health institution for observation.

"On the Gray Moodliar matter the DA cannot say anything about it because they were not there when that decision was taken and it is closed.

"Our law enforcement agencies are busy with more serious things such as crime," Bobani said.