Port Elizabeth - The Democratic Alliance will seek an urgent meeting with the Economic Freedom Fighters over "the decision by the EFF to abscond" from the councils of the three metros governed by the opposition party coalitions, the DA said on Saturday.
"The fact is that in August 2016 the people of South Africa made it clear that they no longer trusted the ANC [African National Congress] to govern. The people of our metros voted for a new beginning and placed their trust in opposition parties," DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga said.
"The short-sighted decision by the EFF to stay away from councils has only served to put the power back in the hands of the ANC. Essentially, the EFF is defying the mandate provided to the opposition by millions of voters, a step which seeks to cripple service delivery and job creation where we govern," he said.
The reasons stated for the EFF's discontent were unclear. The DA, together with the Congress of the People and the African Christian Democratic Party, acted to remove former Nelson Mandela Bay deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani after months of consultation with the United Democratic Movement "about his very questionable conduct, which sought to undermine and destroy the coalition agreement".
"Mr Bobani has on several occasions voted with the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay municipality (NMB) and against the will of the people. This in addition to being implicated in corruption within a department in the city he was responsible for," Bhanga said.
The DA remained committed to working with other opposition parties, including the UDM.
The DA had continuously stated that in the interest of the coalition and delivering services to the people of the metro, the UDM should nominate an alternative candidate who would ensure that the council could focus on delivering services for the people of NMB.
"The residents of these metros made it clear they were rejecting a corrupt ANC government which no longer served them. Therefore, condoning corruption or supporting the ANC, even in the interest of keeping the coalition together, is not an option. The DA will accordingly request an urgent meeting with the EFF leadership to discuss this matter," he said.
"We cannot afford to let internal squabbles subvert the people’s business and undermine the great work that has been done by our coalition governments. The DA is committed to serving the people who have put their trust in those who can deliver services and we will not waver on our commitment to fulfilling our promise to do so. We trust that the EFF is too," Bhanga said.