Port Elizabeth - Nelson Mandela Bay will have a multi-party government from Thursday, led by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and including the United Democratic Front (UDM), the Congress of the People (Cope) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP).
The multiparty coalition agreement was formally announced by DA mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip on Wednesday afternoon.
Trollip was flanked by UDM regional chairperson, Mongameli Bobani, UDM councillor Thoko Tshangela and Cope's acting regional secretary, Siyasanga Sijadu.
Trollip apologised for ACDP councillor Lance Grootboom, who was unable to attend the press conference due to prior commitments.
"The people of Nelson Mandela Bay have spoken. Residents have voted for change and given us a mandate to form a government and work together to stop corruption, create jobs and deliver better services to all," said Trollip.
An African National Congress press conference to be conducted by the party's regional task team for the Nelson Mandela Bay region on Thursday's council meeting and coalition talks - initially scheduled for 16:00, and then moved to 17:00 - was later cancelled.
Major drop for ANC
The city had been one of the most contended metros in the build-up to the 2016 local government elections, with a year-long election campaign seeing the DA wresting control from the ANC by securing 46.7% of the vote and 57 seats in the 120 seat council. The ANC secured 40.9%, thus gaining just 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 UDM 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.
The coalition between the DA, UDM, Cope and ACDP means the multi-party coalition has secured a 61-member council majority.
"This afternoon is an important afternoon for me and my colleagues sitting here with me. The Democratic Alliance has concluded a coalition agreement to form a multi-party government in Nelson Mandela Bay," said Trollip.
Trollip said the multiparty government would only be ratified at the first council meeting taking place on Thursday at 10:00.
The council would first call for nominations of a speaker, once the speaker was voted in, the speaker would take over the proceedings and the executive mayor would be elected, followed by the election of the deputy mayor. Thereafter, the council agenda would be deliberated.
Bobani said the UDM would not disappoint the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.
"Gone will be the days whereby there will interests of individuals put first. [There] will be no time to play, there will be no holiday - it is going to be work. The people are waiting for service delivery," he said.
Sijadu said it was very exciting times.
"We are making history and I am very happy to be a part of it. I am sure it is going to be very challenging, but I believe [we] are up for the challenge and will make the city run and be glorious once more."
Positions to be filled
Trollip said it would become clear what positions had been offered as part of the negotiations in Thursday's council meeting.
"We haven't formed a multi-party government yet, that will only be tomorrow.
"In any multi-party government, when you have negotiations, you do discuss positions, but long before we even discussed positions, we met with national leadership of all the political parties at a number of meetings in Johannesburg at various venues over the past 12 days.
"At those discussions not once were positions mentioned. We first had to find common ground in order to sign a memorandum of understanding, which all the participating parties have signed," he said.
"After that MOU was signed, we have discussed positions. Those positions will be filled tomorrow when we make nominations on behalf of the Democratic Alliance to fill the positions elected tomorrow," he said.
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