In the wake of two recent failed attempts to remove Athol Trollip as the mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, political tensions have risen in the metro, with reports of violent disruptions of municipal meetings.
The Citizen was sent photographs from the Colchester Community Hall on Thursday night following reports that live ammunition was fired outside the building, petrol bombs were thrown and several cars were damaged.
Herald Live also reported that “the community” burned tyres around the hall and “trashed a large number of municipal vehicles, as well as the private cars of the councillors”, with one vehicle petrol-bombed.
The incident was confirmed by speaker Jonathan Lawack and the city’s safety and security boss John Best.
The Herald reports this was the fourth public participation meeting that had to be called off this week due to disruptions and violence.
The meeting had to be abandoned while community members and councillors waited for public order police to arrive and escort them safely out of the area.
Colchester Community Hall in ward 53 went to the DA with 65.47% of the votes and 29.5% going to the ANC in 2016’s elections.
The DA is currently governing the metro in coalition with Cope, the African Christian Democratic Party and the Patriotic Alliance (PA).
The PA’s Marlon Daniels, who was yesterday announced as the new MMC for roads and transport, told The Citizen the ANC or its supporters have resorted to violence in their alleged frustration at being forced to remain the official opposition in the city after they were led to hope the EFF turning on Trollip would be enough to restore them to power.
The PA has, however, vowed to keep Trollip in power until the 2021 elections, and also warned the ANC on Wednesday that it would pull out of its Ekurhuleni coalition with the ANC if the party does not support Daniels’ promotion to also become Port Elizabeth’s deputy mayor on top of his MMC job.
The Colchester meeting was part of a series of Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meetings that were scheduled to take place this week. Daniels alleged that another meeting two nights ago in Uitenhage was also disrupted by men wearing ANC T-shirts who entered a hall and started holding chairs aloft and threatening the gathering.
He said the men were known to the community and were “notorious for causing havoc”.