After a year-long squabble between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and United Democratic Movement (UDM) leaders in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, former deputy mayor of the municipality Mongameli Bobani says mayor Athol Trollip must willingly relinquish power or be forced out.
Trollip’s fate hangs in the balance as a motion of no confidence against him and the speaker of council will be decided on Thursday – after he allegedly appointed municipal manager Johann Mettler without the approval of Eastern Cape MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs Fikile Xasa.
Speaking to the Mail & Guardian on Thursday Bobani said, the UDM alongside the Patriotic Alliance would vote with the ANC on Thursday. He said opposition parties caucused and agreed that they would put an end to Trollip’s term as mayor.
“The coalition between the UDM and the DA never existed in the first place because Trollip possesses an old apartheid mentality style of rule. He rules without consultation and acts on behalf of coalition partners. We caucused and agreed that that man is autocratic and that is why he kicked me out as head of public health despite coalition partners warning him against it. He has gone rouge. We will get him out whatever it takes,” said Bobani.
Bobani also accused Lawack of being biased. “Councillor Jonathan [Lawack] has failed as Speaker of Council. He is being dictated to by Trollip. He has no agency as a result we need someone who needs is going to be autonomous and councillor Lawack is not that man,” said Bobani.
The motion to remove Trollip and DA speaker of council Jonathan Lawack was tabled by Patriotic Alliance councillor Marlon Daniels and seconded by Bobani and the UDM. This is despite Daniels being instrumental in having former deputy mayor Bobani ousted during a chaotic vote of no confidence in August.
Despite reports that Bobani’s axing has caused a rift between the two parties the pair put their differences aside and embraced each other in a joint press briefing by opposition parties on Wednesday.
Out of 120 seats the DA-led coalition holds 59, the African National Congress (ANC) 50, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 6, the UDM 2, and the African Independent Congress (AIC), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and United Front (UF) with one seat each. For the motion against Trollip to succeed the opposition need to secure 61 votes.
The EFF holds the balance of power in the metro but EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said on Thursday that his party would not vote with the ANC.
Trollip told the M&G that the move to remove him was sparked by his appointment of Johann Mettler as municipal manager.
“They believe that the appointment of the city manager was irregular. They have formed a coalition of grievances. Remember that Bobani is still reeling after he was ousted as deputy mayor and Daniels has aspirations of replacing Bobani as deputy mayor; both parties feel hard done by. That’s all this is,” he continued.
Meanwhile, in Johannesburg, the DA held a march to the council chambers in Braamfontein and launched a petition defending mayor Herman Mashaba just hours before a separate motion of no confidence in the Johannesburg mayor was to be tabled.
The march was addressed by DA leader Mmusi Maimane and civil society leaders who said Mashaba was being targeted by the ANC for cleaning up the local government.