On Thursday, the EFF - with the support of other parties, including the ANC and UDM - is planning to push for a motion of no confidence against Trollip, the speaker of council Jonathan Lawack and chief whip Werner Senekal, all of the DA.
In a bid to block the EFF’s motion, the DA has been mobilising communities in the metro through social media, community prayer sessions and petitions, calling on residents to block the red berets from handing the municipality back to the ANC.
Just as EFF leader Julius Malema was scheduled to address a rally in New Brighton, Trollip was expected to also address a “Save Nelson Mandela Bay” rally outside Port Elizabeth’s City Hall, in what appears to be a scramble for public support prior to the crucial motion.
The EFF said Malema’s visit to the Eastern Cape metro on the eve of the motion was aimed at telling its residents the reasons why it was trying to dislodge Trollip and the DA in the municipality.
In a statement addressed to residents, Trollip called for public support, saying his government had been working for the people and that his removal was unfounded.
“The motion is nothing but an attempt to put the ANC back in power so that they can continue eating the people’s money. If you have confidence in mayor Athol Trollip, please join us outside City Hall in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
“South Africa’s eyes will be on Nelson Mandela Bay - you can help us show the country that the people of NMB do not support the EFF/ANC coalition of corruption and chaos,” Trollip said.
The EFF’s caucus leader in the council, Zilindile Vena, who proposed the motion against Trollip, accused the DA of behaving like it had been voted in by a majority in the 2016 local government elections.
Vena said the official opposition would mainly get sympathy from the predominantly white and affluent part of the metro, as township residents, who had not been prioritised under the DA leadership, were excited about the move to oust the DA.
“We are not turning our back on the removal of the DA. The DA know that when we supported them, we did not join any coalition or sign an agreement, but now they are projecting our decision as if we had a partnership.
“They will not get sympathy here with their campaigns against the motion,” Vena said, adding that the EFF would back an ANC candidate provided he had been properly screened and that he was credible.
“The ANC is supposed to brief us now and take into its confidence all the parties, including the public, about which candidate it wants as mayor. We are giving the ANC some time, so that it gives us the candidate, who we will scrutinise and decide if we are happy,” Vena added.
The EFF dumped the DA following its rejection of the EFF’s parliamentary motion to expropriate land without compensation and vowed to punish the DA by ousting Trollip, who is also the party’s federal chairperson and a farmer.