Port Elizabeth - The fragile coalition which governs the Nelson Mandela Bay council in Port Elizabeth in the Easter Cape is hanging by the thinnest of threads, this ahead of a motion of no confidence against Democratic Alliance Mayor Athol Trollip on Thursday, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) set to hold the decisive votes.
Heated scenes are expected to play out at a NMB council meeting on Thursday, this after the Patriotic Alliance's Marlon Daniels and former deputy mayor, the United Democratic Movement's Mongameli Bobani filed motions to have Trollip and council speaker Jonathan Lawack removed.
The DA governs in Nelson Mandela Bay after securing 46.7% of the vote and 57 seats in the 120-seat council following the local government elections in 2016.
The African National Congress (ANC) saw its control slip away as it polled just 40.9% of votes, sliding from 62 council seats in 2011 to just 50 last year.
But the DA could only take control of the metro with the help of a coalition of smaller parties, with the PA, the United Front of the Eastern Cape (UFEC), and the African Independent Conference (AIC), who all occupy one seat in council, holding a press conference on Wednesday, and being joined by Bobani who was late for the briefing. The UDM hold two seats at council.
The Congress of the People (Cope) and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) also each have one vote but are set to support the DA in trying to ward off the motion.
The ANC, who have 50 seats, held a separate press conference on Wednesday and said that the party would support any move to have Trollip ousted.
The EFF have six seats in council and while the minority parties say they have done their lobbying, the decision on whether the EFF will support, abstain or vote against the motion of no confidence, ultimately rests with EFF national leader Julius Malema.
EFF councillor Zilindili Vena, would only say that members would attend council meeting and they were receiving guidance from their national leadership in terms of the tabled motions.
Meanwhile, Daniels also used the press briefing as a platform to apologise to Bobani for bringing the August 24 motion which ultimately led to his removal as the Bay's deputy mayor.
The PA officially withdrew from the DA-led coalition government earlier in September. The PA had threatened to terminate its agreement with the DA if Daniels was not elected into the deputy mayor position. At the time Daniels was adamant he should be nominated for the vacant position of deputy mayor after he initially brought the ultimately successful motion of no confidence in the previous UDM incumbent Bobani.
On Wednesday, Daniels said he was "deceived by Trollip" into believing that Bobani was a corrupt man and regretted the move. "The reason for my apology is that I didn't think at my age someone can still deceive me with lies. Athol Trollip is a person that lies on a daily basis, he goes along as things evolve.
"This is not a motion against the DA, our problem is not with the DA, our problem is with Trollip," he said.
Daniels said that if the EFF decided to abstain from the vote it would be a show of who they were deciding to get into bed with. "If they abstain, it's equal to voting with the DA. What happens tomorrow will show who they decide to get into bed with," said Daniels.
Bobani said that his problem was never with Daniels, but rather with Trollip, who according to Bobani, threw the UDM under the bus.
Meanwhile, the UF's Mkhuseli Mtsila was highly offended by what he called "DA propaganda" and slated a DA poster stating "Stop the ANC re-capturing our metro through the motion of no confidence".
"It is propaganda the DA is spreading saying that the ANC is trying to get through the back door. If you are saying that I am being used by the ANC then you are insulting my intelligence. We are not being managed by the ANC. When we feel something is right we vote in the interests of our communities," said Buyeye.