DA’s Athol Trollip already whips out carrot and stick in Nelson Mandela Bay

The Nelson Mandela Bay metro’s Democratic Alliance mayoral contender, Athol Trollip, was not waiting for the election results to prepare for a purge of municipal officials at the very top who are found to have unduly benefitted from the state or ANC-linked deals.

One day before the vote, in an unprecedented move, Trollip wrote to the municipality’s senior employees, assuring them “their jobs are not in danger”.

“This is a fiercely contested election and there’s a possibility of administrative change. That brings with it issues of job security, you have nothing to be insecure about. We will treat every single official with mutual respect,” Trollip wrote in the letter, which was condemned by the incumbent mayor, Danny Jordaan.

These positions are held by ANC deployees, who will be the first people under scrutiny, should the DA take control of the metro.

“People in management are on contracts, and their term comes to an end after the election. We will conduct forensic audits of all people in management positions. If there’s any indication of fraudulent or corrupt activity, they’ll have to answer for that,” Trollip said.


The letter was an attempt by the DA to win support in the municipality during a period of uncertainty over administrative change.

The planned changes are not aimed at the lower-level staff permanently employed by the state, the letter added. Instead, the metro’s management structure faces a review.

Trollip wrote that his administration would not demand the same unflinching dedication to the DA’s wishes. Instead, he hopes to appoint people committed to clean governance and promote them accordingly.

“We have a manifesto on offer of a clean government that’s corruption free and that will create jobs. If they are up for doing that, they will work perfectly within a DA administration. They can get promoted if they work hard, not through cadre deployment.”

Trollip insisted the DA’s track record in government proves its commitment to protecting workers’ rights, while implementing its own political ideology.

“We govern 25 municipalities; there was never any wholesale firing of people. We embrace the officials and if they embrace the DA they too will benefit directly,” he told the Mail & Guardian.

But the letter was condemned “with the contempt it deserves” by Jordaan.

“It sends a serious signal about somebody who doesn’t understand governance. All those officials account to the city manager and him alone. Maybe he doesn’t understand this. The city manager expressed his disgust with what [Trollip] has done,” he said.

Jordaan said he’d tried to keep political meddling out of the management of the city.

“And we have kept the administration out of the political election. Now, he’s declared it open season. So the Economic Freedom Fighters can write to staff, ANC can write to staff. The arrogance that he displays shows why he will lose tomorrow,” Jordaan said on Tuesday.

This is not the first time the municipality’s officials face the firing squad. In 2013, municipal manager Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela resigned after being pressured by then-mayor Ben Fihla to make a host of appointments, including 43 Umkhonto weSizwe veterans at a cost of R4.3-million. She was later awarded R3.1-million in damages after the high court in Port Elizabeth confirmed political interference by Fihla and his deputy, Thando Ngcolomba.

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

Related stories

DA leader bought wife a car with ‘corruption’ earnings

Senior Ekurhuleni councillor Shabangu purchased a Ford SUV from an alleged R1.2-million kickback

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Editorial: Desperately seeking an opposition

All the contenders are deeply flawed, losing support, or both

A litmus test for the 2021 election

In this week’s 96 by-elections, the trend was the ANC held its ground and grew, while the DA lost big, with minority parties eating into its voter base

‘Super-Wednesday’ by-elections: all the data and who is contesting what

In this week’s by-elections, the ANC has the highest number of wards being contested. However, the turnout in some communities in areas in the Vaal district has been low — even after the electoral commission said it was ready to welcome voters

With 79% of votes, Steenhuisen is elected DA leader

It was a landslide victory for John Steenhuisen, who thanked his family and opponent Mbali Ntuli before characteristically tearing into the ANC-led government for its anti-liberal policies, numerous failures, megalomania, and rampant corruption.
Advertising

Subscribers only

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Q&A Sessions: ‘I think I was born way before my...

The chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the deputy chair of the SABC board, shares her take on retrenchments at the public broadcaster and reveals why she hates horror movies

More top stories

DRC: Tshisekedi and Kabila fall out

The country’s governing coalition is under strain, which could lead to even more acrimony ahead

Editorial: Crocodile tears from the coalface

Pumping limited resources into a project that is predominantly meant to extend dirty coal energy in South Africa is not what local communities and the climate needs.

Klipgat residents left high and dry

Flushing toilets were installed in backyards in the North West, but they can’t be used because the sewage has nowhere to go

Nehawu leaders are ‘betraying us’

The accusation by a branch of the union comes after it withdrew from a parliamentary process
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…