DA to launch urgent court bid to challenge Trollip removal

Athol Trollip. (Paul Botes/M&G)

Athol Trollip. (Paul Botes/M&G)

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has confirmed his party will file court papers on Tuesday to review the removal of Athol Trollip as Nelson Mandela Bay mayor and have it declared invalid.

In a joint presser in Cape Town on Tuesday, Maimane and Trollip made the party’s intention known in reaction to the events which transpired in the Nelson Mandela Bay council on Monday which led to Trollip’s ousting.

The dismissal of Trollip has seen the emergence of a coalition of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the United Democratic Movement and the ANC, Maimane said.

“It’s a unity of corruption. I think they’ve taken a lead from Bathabile Dlamini: what keeps them together is the smallanyana skeletons,” Maimane quipped.

The party believes the Municipal Structures Act was violated when Trollip was removed in a heated council meeting after speaker Jonathan Lawack was axed in a motion of no confidence.

Trollip, meanwhile, is adamant he is still mayor.

“I do believe I’m still the mayor.
I believe what transpired after the replacement of the speaker yesterday was unlawful,” Trollip said.

Both Trollip and Maimane allege that one of the reasons behind the newly formed coalition is to loot municipal coffers to fund 2019 election campaigns.

“Two years after the change came to our city [when the coalition was established]... the people who wanted to steal our city had run out of money,” Trollip said of the ANC.

Maimane maintains that the ascension to leadership of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa helped the EFF feel more comfortable working with the ANC.

“We have to ask the question of what has changed? The only change I can assume is the introduction of Mr Ramaphosa,” Maimane said of the EFF’s alignment with the ANC.

The DA leader said that the EFF and his party remain in constant discussion and that there is no dysfunction in their relationship.

But, the EFF has already set it sights on another DA mayor, this time in Tshwane: Solly Msimanga.

“The EFF does not say a person will fall and it does not happen. We don’t promise, we commit. Thursday the puppet of white supremacy will also bite the dust,” EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said on social media. EFF leader Julius Malema said in a press conference on Tuesday that a replacement for Msimanga had not yet been decided upon by the party.

Msimanga is facing a motion of no confidence in Thursday, which has been brought by the red berets. Msimanga’s party is firmly backing him to come out of the motion victorious.

“Solly has done his job,” Maimane said.

The DA will file its court application challenging Trollip’s removal on Tuesday afternoon. 

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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