Julius Malema
Port Elizabeth - The stage is set for a fierce battle for the control of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro on Thursday as the EFF tries to remove mayor Athol Trollip.

On Wednesday, EFF leader Julius Malema and Trollip engaged in a war of words at separate rallies convened to drum up support for the EFF-led motion of no confidence vote against the DA mayor.

On Wednesday night, Malema conceded that his party might fail in removing Trollip after the Patriotic Alliance (PA) threw a spanner in the works, derailing the plan by the feisty leader and the ANC.

Malema said his party would never work with the DA in the metro again, as the EFF wanted to demonstrate its seriousness about the land issue.

“We are using Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to demonstrate our seriousness about this issue of land. If we punish them here in order to get the message to them, let it be done. As long as the matter of the land is restored firmly on the table,” Malema said.

He said Trollip was the most appropriate person to be punished for the DA’s opposition to land expropriation without compensation.

“Trollip is the national chairperson of the DA. He was chairing a meeting that took a decision, which said they are not going to support the land issue. He must know there are consequences for that,” Malema said.

Hundreds of EFF supporters are expected to camp outside the metro’s council chambers when the motion is tabled.

DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga vowed that the motion would be crushed by the official opposition, with the help of COPE, the ACDP and the Patriotic Alliance.

“Julius Malema will not come here to divide us and think we are going to fold our arms. We are going to return fire with fire.

“We are going to meet him and we are going to defeat him. We are going to defeat every spirit of Julius Malema,” Bhanga said.

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Trollip has accused Malema of racism for pointing out that one of the reasons the EFF wanted him to take the fall for the DA’s rejection of their parliamentary motion was because he was also a white farmer.

He said he would maintain his hardline stance against the EFF’s policy positions and Malema’s bullying tactics.

“You’ve got to take a stand to make a difference. You have got to stand up to demagogues and tyranny, regardless of what the consequences and costs are,” Trollip said.

“The EFF decided unilaterally one day when they did not get their way like a spoilt child in Parliament We did not support their mad motion that will destroy the economy of this country and make more people unemployed,” Trollip said.

The motion is, however, expected to reach a deadlock as there was a 50/50 divide among the parties that either backed or opposed the motion against Trollip, which could also seek the removal of the speaker and chief whip, if it succeeds.

This was after the Patriotic Alliance decided to come to Trollip’s defence at the 11th hour, and after its leader Marlon Daniels was promised a position in the mayoral committee.

Daniels said Malema was arrogant, adding that his animosity towards the Patriotic Alliance president Gayton Mckenzie had worsened relations between the two parties.

“There is just no synergy between the EFF and the PA, so why would they have the audacity to give instructions from Braamfontein about what must happen here? That is unacceptable,” he said.

Daniels said the opposition parties plotting to remove Trollip called him on Tuesday night for a meeting where they asked for the party’s support in exchange for a mayoral post.

“They came to my residence about 2am, offering me the position of mayor should I decide to assist in the removal of Trollip. Now if my memory serves me well, just this week it was the EFF who went public and said throw the PA a bone and they will jump at it.

“They came with that big bone and we never jumped. They walked out of there with their tails between their legs. I have told them that the main issue here is that we engineered the first motion of no confidence last year and the EFF rejected it,” he said.

The Star