Bay DA men off to Bhisho, parliament
Worst thing was seeing one of our own betray his party, says Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga
“The worst thing that has happened to me in my time as a councillor in Nelson Mandela Bay was seeing one of our own, Victor Manyati, betray his party and help overthrow the DAled coalition government.”
This was one of Nqaba Bhanga’s most memorable moments as a Bay councillor.
The DA Eastern Cape leader, along with councillors Retief Odendaal and Baxolile Nodada, have resigned as Bay public representatives to take up jobs in the Bhisho legislature and the National Assembly respectively.
“When I saw Manyati sitting and folding his arms, I knew it was over for us in Nelson Mandela Bay,” Bhanga said.
Manyati was instrumental in assisting the ANC, UDM, AIC and United Front oust the DA and its coalition partners from power during the August 27 2018 council meeting.
An equally bad moment for him in his time as councillor, Bhanga said, was when he saw a video of current mayor Mongameli Bobani spinning in his chair in the mayor’s office for the first time.
“The most horrendous experience was seeing this current mayor Bobani spinning in his chair.
“He is currently breaking down the city,” Bhanga said.
Reflecting on his time as a metro councillor since August 2016, Bhanga said there were happy moments too, and the most memorable for him was after the municipal election results were finalised.
“Thousands of DA supporters gathered outside City Hall and we had South Africans, black and white, Indian and coloured all cheering us on.”
Speaking on the future, Bhanga, who will lead the DA caucus in the Bhisho legislature, said he would advocate for the people of the northern areas who were being terrorised by gangsters every day.
“We can’t have people dying on a daily basis because of gangsterism and this is something I’ll be sure to highlight to the new premier, and inform him that coloured people matter too.”
Bhanga said he would miss the team of DA councillors.
“The councillors of the ANC and the EFF do not have the capacity of the DA councillors.
“Our opponents do not understand what governance is all about, they do not have skills and don’t present alternatives and solutions to the problems,” Bhanga said.
Odendaal, who served as a councillor for about decade, will also be heading to Bhisho, with the first legislature sitting to take place on Wednesday.
“In 2014, I became the leader of the opposition in Nelson Mandela Bay and I held that position before Athol [Trollip] took it over.
“Highlights are obviously when we took over the city as a DA-led coalition.
“It was a moment we had been working on for a long time and we brought a credible government and had a plan to turn the Bay around, which we proved when we were successful in bringing stability to the city,” Odendaal said.
“When I was appointed MMC [member of mayoral committee] for budget and treasury I knew that the city was likely to be bankrupt in three financial years.
“From 2016, we managed to turn the finances of the city around in a very short time.
“Within 18 months of us taking over the city, it was awarded the highest credit rating in the country on par with Cape Town, and on the back of that we managed to receive an additional windfall allocation USDG [Urban Settlements Development Grant] funding of R178m followed by R200m.”
He said he felt he had unfinished business in the metro and would be back sooner than the opposition realised.
Making his way to parliament, Nodada said he would miss the friends and colleagues he had made in the metro.
Nodada, a councillor since 2016, served in the budget and treasury as well as economic development committees.“One of the things I will miss is the vigorous debate around the budget in the city. . . and the caucuses,” he said.