Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting: ANC demands to be let in, then walks out

2016-08-18 11:57
Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip
Newly-elected Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip. (Derrick Spies/News24)

Port Elizabeth – The near chaotic first meeting of the new council of Nelson Mandela Bay metro on Thursday was eventually brought to order after reported attempts by the ANC to stop the meeting from going ahead, followed by party supporters demanding to be let into the hall.

Minutes after the DA's Athol Trollip was elected the new executive mayor however, ANC members rose and walked out of the hall, amidst loud cheering.

Former ANC mayor Danny Jordaan was not present.

Earlier, when the ANC councillors eventually made their way into the hall, acting municipal manager Johann Mettler gave them the opportunity to take the oath. While no councillor stood to take the oath in English, they stood as one to take the oath and affirmation in isiXhosa.

Points of order

Finally the call for nominations for a speaker was put to the floor, causing an ANC councillor to take to the floor to call for a point of order.

Mettler refused to acknowledge the councillor, saying points of order need to be raised with the new speaker.

One nomination was received, and DA councillor Jonathan Lewack was elected unopposed.

Lewack immediately started cracking the whip, calling the audience to order and waving around the rule book to warn them about their behaviour. He refused to acknowledge an ANC councillor who stood up to object.

Lewack challenged him to quote the rules that allowed him to speak, to which the councillor had no reply.

"This house is governed by order. If you cannot quote the rule, you must take a seat. This house is governed by order. If you cannot quote the rule, you must take a seat," he said.

Lewack pointed to Section 28, and said if he determined that the councillor’s behavior was disruptive, he could have the councillor removed.

Trollip was finally sworn in as mayor with traces of a long battle for control of the metro still lingering.

Trollip was voted in to office by 67 of the 120 votes available, thanks to a multi-party agreement to keep the ANC at bay.

After the nailbiter of the IEC results for the 3 August local government elections, the DA emerged as leaders with support to 46.7% of the vote and 57 seats in the 120 seat council, but not the majority. The ANC secured 40.9%, gaining 50 seats, a major drop from its 62 seats won in 2011.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was the third largest party, securing 5.1% of the vote, and six seats on council, while the United Democratic Movement secured 1.9% of the vote, earning them two seats.

The remaining five seats went to the African Independent Conference (AIC), the United Front of the Eastern Cape (UFEC), Cope, ACDP and the newly formed Patriotic Alliance (PA) respectively.

A bloc comprising the DA, UDM, Cope and ACDP emerged after almost two weeks of negotiations to form a multiparty alliance.

The EFF has indicated it will not go into coalitions, but would vote for issues it agrees with, as the need arises.

During the inauguration there were complaints that security was not letting some people in, including outgoing mayor Danny Jordaan.

By the time Trollip made his inaugural address, the ANC had walked out.

The top posts reflected the agreement, with UDM regional chairperson Mongameli Bobani voted in as deputy mayor,  DA Councillor Jonathan Lawack as Speaker and DA Councillor Werner Senekal as the Chief Whip.

In his address, Trollip outlined some of his plans.

"We have a lot of work to do here in Nelson Mandela Bay, and it starts right here, right now.

''Over the past year I have committed to delivering three things if elected as your Mayor and now that this has come to pass, I must fulfill what I promised.''

He promised to stop corruption, create job and deliver better services.

''No elaborate grandiose promises that have little prospect for ever coming to fruition,'' he said.

''There will be no more erosion of municipal resources due to corruption procurement practices. There will be no more wasting of our resources on the glitz and glamour of irrelevant pubic events, flashy cars and wasteful expenditure on cadre deployment.''

He also vowed to get rid of the metro's bucket system and to do a check on metro employees' qualifications to make sure they are suitable for the job.

Two of Trollip's main campaign issues were the appointment of Linda Mti as security ahead, allegedly without following proper procedure, and the eradication of the bucket system.

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