Port Elizabeth - In a shock move Nelson Mandela Bay Democratic Alliance (DA) Mayor Athol Trollip was booted from office on Monday and replaced by his nemesis the United Democratic Movement's (UDM) Mongameli Bobani.
Drama unfolded on Monday when DA councillor Victor Manyati betrayed his colleagues by abstaining from a vote which ultimately led to the removal of Council Speaker Jonathan Lawack.
For a short while Municipal Manager Johan Mettler presided over the meeting and later declared a vacancy after DA Federal Executive Chairperson James Selfe wrote a letter indicating Manyati’s party membership would be suspended.
After a vacancy was declared, the DA and it’s coalition partners Congress of the People (Cope) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) walked out of chambers but opposition parties were adamant at the time the motions would be heard.
Mettler told the remaining councillors from the African National Congress (ANC), UDM, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), African Independent Congress (AIC), and United Front (UF) that there was no quorum and he too left chambers.
Later on Monday, Mettler did an about turn after he sent a text message to ANC councillor Rory Riordan stating that he would retract declaring a vacancy and a council meeting should reconvene with seven days.
Meanwhile, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) member of the executive (MEC) Fikile Xasa sent a senior official to preside over the council meeting and oversee the election of a new council speaker.
The ANC’s Buyelwa Mafaya was elected as the new speaker.
Other motions which have been in the pipeline for months were moved and carried unanimously with 61 councillors in chambers.
Elected as the new deputy Executive Mayor was the AIC’s Thsonono Buyeye.
The ANC’s Bicks Ndoni was elected as the Chief Whip of Council.
Bobani wasted no time in electing his new mayco team assuring residents that the “honeymoon season starts now”.
“The previously disadvantaged people it is their time. We want to empower our people. We are not going to sit in our offices, we will hunt them and go to them. We want to know the problems, we want to fix the problems,” said Bobani.
The mayco team is as follows: Infrastructure and Engineering Andile Lungisa (ANC), Human Settlements Andile Mfunda (ANC), Economic Development Queenie Pink (ANC), Budget and Treasury Mkhuseli Mtsila (UF), Constituency Services Thumi Renyele (ANC), Public Health Yolisa Pali (ANC), Road and Transport Rosie Frollick (ANC), Safety and Security Litho Suka (ANC), Corporate Services Makhi Feni (ANC), Sports, Arts, Culture Lehlonono Mfana (ANC), MPAC Yoliswa Yako (EFF).
Meanwhile, DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga said the ANC and EFF were adamant on bringing back corruption to the city.
“In today’s council sitting, the ANC, UDM and EFF banded together and supported a Motion of No Confidence to remove the DA-led coalition administration in Nelson Mandela Bay, removing both Mayor Athol Trollip and Speaker Jonathan Lawack," Bhanga said.
"This decision by the unholy alliance of the ANC, EFF and UDM is in order to fill their own party coffers with public funds and bring looting back ahead of the 2019 elections. The ANC and the EFF have rejected the will of the people in favour of enriching themselves.”
African News Agency (ANA)