The Citizen has been informed on good authority that the opposition grouping in Nelson Mandela Bay has agreed to throw its weight behind the candidacy of Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Marlon Daniels to be the next mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay in the event their motion of no confidence against DA mayor Athol Trollip is successful, as is widely expected.
It’s understood that the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM’s) Mongameli Bobani was also keen to take the hot seat, and other opposition parties may have expressed interest, but the PA’s deciding “kingmaker vote” in council appears to have carried the most weight.
The opposition parties in Nelson Mandela Bay last week petitioned speaker Jonathan Lawack to convene a special council meeting with the intention of once again trying to oust Trollip.
The special request was submitted by the African Independent Congress’ (AIC’s) Tshonono Buyeye, the African National Congress’ (ANC’s) Andile Lungisa, the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM’s) Mongameli Bobani, Daniels and the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF’s) Zilindile Vena.
Earlier this year, Daniels was appointed as the mayoral committee member for roads and transport following the PA joining Trollip’s coalition.
The opposition parties, with the PA, hold a combined 61-seat majority in the council of 120 seats. The ANC has 50 seats, the EFF six, the UDM two and the AIC, PA and United Front one each.
The DA-led coalition together with the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and Congress of the People (Cope) have 59 seats.
This will be the third attempt to boot Trollip from office after the last motion of no confidence was withdrawn by the EFF in May this year.
The ANC lost the metro in the 2016 local government elections. No political party was able to clinch a majority and this resulted in the DA having to sign coalition agreements with smaller parties to have enough numbers to govern the city.
The opposition has for months been attempting to lure the PA away from the coalition to its side. Daniels said he had turned down an offer of the mayoral position before.
Last week, Daniels, who has served as the member of the mayoral committee for roads and transport under Trollip, indicated he would no longer support the DA coalition, as it allegedly had not benefited his community.
“In my view, there is no point in me remaining as the MMC if my position does not change my community,” Daniels said.
Sources within the DA have said Daniels was demanding that the metro should prioritise the coloured northern areas at the expense of other black townships. The source said the metro had, however, been involved in a number of projects to improve all townships.
PA leader Gayton McKenzie accused the DA last week of evicting only black and coloured residents, while the UDM’s Bobani alleged service delivery in general was not happening under the DA and water and electricity tariffs had increased dramatically.
The DA responded by talking about some of the party’s successes in the metro, such as its success with the first metro police service in the city, also a first in the Eastern Cape.
According to the party, the police, working closely with the SAPS, managed an 11% reduction of gang-related crimes in the most dangerous communities, such as Helenvale, particularly by using Shot Spotter technology.
The party also said it had turned around the city’s finances through rooting out corrupt senior officials in the metro.
“The City is now liquid with over R2 billion in the bank, has a steadily rising collection rate and achieves some of the best capital expenditure in the country,” the party said.