Port Elizabeth – The ongoing political instability that has plagued the coalition government of Nelson Mandela Bay took another surprise turn as former coalition members filed a notice of intent to bring a motion of no confidence against Mayor Athol Trollip at the next council sitting later this month.
The notice, which was filed with the office of the speaker on Monday morning, was brought by Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Marlon Daniels and seconded by the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani.
The motion of no confidence was apparently sparked by Trollip’s appointment of municipal manager Johann Mettler, as well as the appointments of the executive directors of human settlements and corporate services. Daniels said Mettler’s appointment had not been approved by Eastern Cape MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Fikile Xasa.
Also among the complaints raised by Daniels was “continuous disrespect of this council by the executive mayor” who the PA councillor claimed “gives powers to his DA to deal with council matters”.
A separate notice was also submitted to bring a motion of no confidence against the speaker of council, DA councillor Jonathan Lewack.
Former enemies team up against Trollip
Ironically, it was Daniels who brought the motion of no confidence against Bobani which saw the UDM councillor expelled from his position as deputy mayor in August.
For his role in ousting Bobani, Daniels demanded the position of member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for safety and security and the position of deputy mayor.
He was subsequently made MMC of public health, which was a position previously occupied by Bobani, but Trollip refused to put Daniels’ name forward for deputy mayor, and the vote to replace Bobani was left off the agenda in the following council meeting.
As a result, the PA withdrew from the coalition, which has left the DA-led city’s leadership significantly weakened.
During the last council meeting, the balance of power was tested when the appointment of a coordinator for next year’s international Ironman competition being hosted by the city was put to the vote. Of the total 120 votes, the coalition managed to secure 59 votes in favour, while the opposition, led by the ANC and supported by the UDM, AIC, PA and the EFF, secured 59 votes. Two ANC councillors were absent from proceedings.
‘He doesn’t want me’
The national leadership of the DA and UDM have both confirmed that the two political organisations are still coalition partners in the cities where they govern, but Bobani made it clear the UDM would not be supporting their coalition partners in Nelson Mandela Bay, voting instead with the ANC-led opposition and caucusing with it.
“You can see Trollip doesn’t want me to be in the coalition. The fact that he put [mayoral committee member Siyasanga] Sijadu in my seat [makes it clear].
“Trollip hates me so much. He doesn’t even want me to sit next to him, in my seat. He has thrown me out of the coalition. What must I do? He doesn’t want me,” he said after council last month.
Motion against Trollip ‘was expected’
DA council chief whip Werner Senekal said the motions of no confidence had been expected, but that the grounds for them were baseless.
Senekal said it was his understanding that the correct procedure had been followed in tabling the motions
“It appears that the two councillors and their parties wish to see the return of ANC government in Nelson Mandela Bay,” he said.
Senekal said if the motions carried, the election of new office bearers would have to be proceeded with, in terms of the rules of council and legislation.
Council is scheduled to sit on Thursday, November 30.