Embattled Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Mongameli Bobani. Picture: Raahil Sain/African News Agency (ANA) File

Port Elizabeth - Eastern Cape police refuted claims on Thursday that a Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting was called off based on advice from police. 

The meeting intended to unseat United Democratic Movement (UDM) Mayor Mongameli Bobani was cancelled amid “imminent threats against councillors”.

A motion of no confidence brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) was expected to be debated, but because of a “high security risk”, Council Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya of the African National Congress (ANC) cancelled the meeting at the eleventh hour. 

Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki earlier said the meeting was cancelled in the interest of protecting the democratic processes of council and to execute council's duty to ensure the safety of office bearers.

“Although we received threats in the past, the sheer intensity and viciousness of those received the last 24 hours necessitated us to make this decision in consultation with SAPS,” said Mniki.

Mafaya said the cancellation was due to advice received from police of a high security risk associated with the meeting.  

However, Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga refuted any statement indicating that the meeting had to be called off on the advice of the SAPS. 

“As a standard operating procedure, the SAPS monitors all possible volatile events. In this case, planning was done and we are in a state of readiness as the SAPS  is mandated to maintain law and order. It is the prerogative of any organiser to call off any such event that they deem to be volatile.

“The SAPS ‘s presence is in an observatory capacity and to maintain law and order. We did not recommend or advise any organiser to cancel or postpone any such meeting as it is their prerogative.We are still in a state of readiness,” said Ntshinga.

A police nyala was seen at the Woolboard Exchange building earlier on Thursday morning. The doors of the building were locked after the metro indicated that the meeting had been called off. 

The motion, brought by DA councillor Morne Steyn, was being supported by the Patriotic Alliance (PA), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and Congress of the People (Cope).

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had since withdrawn its support in the expected move to oust Bobani. 

African News Agency/ANA