Port Elizabeth - Nelson Mandela Bay coalition partners have defended the voting process which saw the UDM's Mongameli Bobani removed as the deputy mayor on Thursday.
Tensions were high and drama unfolded while the matter went to vote at the same time some councillors expressed their rejection of the motion before exiting the chamber.
Sixty votes were in favour of the motion brought by Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Marlon Daniels to have Bobani ousted from his position. Parties that supported the motion were the Democratic Alliance (DA), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), and Congress of the People (COPE).
Speaking at a media briefing after the adjournment of a chaotic council meeting, the ACDP's Lance Grootboom, defended the motion going to vote saying that at the start of the meeting 119 councillors were present.
"When the motion was moved the councillors were still present, with the voting some councillors were still in the chamber," he said.
Grootboom, however, was unable to give the exact number of councillors who were present in the chamber at the time the motion went to vote.
"I cannot say for now, the media were there, there was cameras in the building but clearly there were councillors present at the time when we voted because there were councillors singing," Grootboom said.
"The fact that they were in the building they were still part of the meeting. According to us we believe that the meeting was quorate and what we did was in line with the rules of order."
DA provincial leader, Nqaba Bhanga, said they were happy that the motion was passed and insisted that due process was followed.
Bhanga said that since this was political matter he would address the media briefing as the leader of the DA in the province, instead of Mayor Athol Trollip, who was not present.
He further welcomed opposition parties seeking legal advice on the decision to have Bobani removed.
The African National Congress had earlier said that they would seek legal advice as they believe the decision was a "criminal act" constructed through a "fabricated quorum".
"We welcome that, we live in a constitutional democracy and it is up to the courts to decide on that matter," Bhanga said.
Looking forward to future council meetings Bhanga was confident that council business would continue as normal and opposition parties would attend meetings because "there were still good councillors who understood what really was important".
Bhanga added that the appointment of the next deputy mayor would be made at the next council meeting, apparently a position Daniels is vying for, in addition to an MMC position for Safety and Security which is currently headed by councillor John Best.
"The opposition party is out to be disruptive. Their behaviour of the former deputy mayor worked out very well for the opposition parties because they did not want order. The plan was to disrupt this meeting as soon as this item came up," Daniels told a press briefing.
Responding to a question on whether or not he was an opportunist, Daniels said that life was full of opportunities.
"The impasse that has happened between the mayor and the former deputy mayor the PA was not privy to sit in any of the meetings, I learnt it through the media. An opportunity was not created by the PA, normally we are very good at creating opportunities, remember God helps those who help themselves, but this one we didn't create. It was brought upon us by the impasse," said Daniels.
Daniels was also asked what he meant when he said he was "chairing a black caucus". His response : "A black caucus is a meeting where there are no white people..even decisions made in council today is based on race."
On further clarifying his point he added,"The black caucus they say no more exists, but when opposition parties used to come together, including the UDM it was referred to as the black caucus and I was asked and tasked to chair that caucus".
Earlier, during the council meeting, councillors were given the opportunity to speak on Women's Month. Daniels in his speech quoted a verse from the bible, 1 Timothy 2:11-12, which says: "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man, she must be quite".
When ANA asked Daniels his reasons for quoting this verse and his views on women in general, he responded: "I did it deliberately, to cause a stir because I knew it would. Don't you think it set the tone? It set the tone for the rest of the meeting but those are not my views [that women should be submissive]."
Meanwhile, at an impromptu media briefing, Bobani told reporters that he would take instruction from United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa, adding that he was still the deputy executive mayor of the metro.
"We are now waiting for national leadership to give guidance, if the national leadership says do not go to the office tomorrow then I won't go to the office," he said.
Bobani was adamant that Council Speaker Jonathan Lawack was meant to adjourn the meeting as soon as the situation became chaotic.
"How can the motion be passed when the other councillors were walking out? He was supposed to ensure that the meeting was in order, stop everything and count whether there were enough councillors to ensure the quorum," Bobani said.
"They were hell bent on making sure that this particular motion is moving and it is illegal."
African News Agency