Port Elizabeth - The Nelson Mandela Bay draft operating budget for the 2019/20 financial year was finally passed on Friday after several failed attempts to have it adopted and death threats to councillors.
The budget was passed with a majority of 61 councillors voting for it. This came after Patriotic Alliance (PA) Councillor, Marlon Daniels supported the budget after initially pledging to vote against it when he allegedly received death threats earlier this week.
Daniels did an about-turn after being offered a position on Mayor Mongameli Bobani's mayoral committee.
Daniels, had earlier said that he was told that he would see what would happen to him and his family should he not vote in favour of the more than R12 billion budget tabled earlier this month by Bobani.
He said he received a call from someone telling him he had to support the budget.
Cope councillor Siyasanga Sijadu also said she was threatened by four men at her family home to vote in favour of the budget while United Front (UF) councillor Mkhuseli Mtsila said that he received a threat that if he failed to vote for the budget his family would die.
Daniels now serves in the position of MMC for Economic Development and said it was not difficult to work with the coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Daniels said the PA would jump into bed with any party that chose to make the Northern Areas a top priority. The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ACDP voted against the budget.
DA Caucus Leader Athol Trollip said that the party opposed the budget due to the enormous rates increase against the current economic climate.
"We don’t believe the capital expenditure predictions in the budget are realistic especially when compared to the current abject spending performance that effects every resident of the metro. This kind of woeful expenditure performance will negatively affect service delivery and the metro will ultimately lose unspent grant funding which directly effects all of us."
Trollip further slammed Daniels and said his initial opposition to the budget was not so much about its content or provisions but merely all about leveraging himself a mayoral committee seat.
"Cllr Daniels has become a journeyman mayoral committee member through his brand of transactional politics of the stomach. Now that Cllr Daniels has got what he ultimately wanted, the budget has now passed before the looming deadline of 30 June 2019."
If the budget did not pass by the 30 June, the metro ran the risk of being placed under administration.
African News Agency (ANA)