'I got the idea of toppling the DA in jail'

2018-09-23 11:56


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ANC Eastern Cape provincial executive committee member Andile Lungisa has boasted that the toppling of Athol Trollip and the DA from the Nelson Mandela Bay metro was conceived during the 16 days he spent in prison earlier this year.

In an interview with City Press this week the controversial new head of infrastructure at the metro said he had been given the task by the ANC to collapse the DA.

The DA-led coalition – which included the Congress of the People, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Patriotic Alliance, in the beginning the United Democratic Movement (UDM), and with votes from the Economic Freedom Fighters – had been at the helm of governing the city since the 2016 local government elections.

The coalition government survived countless ejection attempts led by the ANC.

At the height of many motions of no confidence attempts against DA Mayor Trollip and speaker Jonathan Lawack, Lungisa was serving a two-year jail sentence for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after hitting DA councillor and former mayoral committee member Rano Kayser with a glass water jug at a violent council meeting in 2016.

Lungisa appealed both the sentence and the conviction and was released on bail after serving just two weeks of his sentence. He has maintained that he acted in self-defence.

This week he told City Press that it was during his brief stint in prison that he thought very hard about ways to collapse the DA in the metro.

“We had no option but to push the DA out. You must remember that they never won elections, but through their own propaganda machinery they always want to make people believe that they won.

“So we decided on a clear plan because we realised that within the DA there were councillors who were not happy. We worked to analyse and went deep.

“Some of the DA councillors, especially those who come from the northern areas, were being terrorised. The plan was to engage with those unhappy DA councillors,” he said, adding that most of them had come from the ANC, which made it easy to approach them.

“They were with us in the youth movement. They come from the ANC, so there was no issue in reaching out to them. So we said we had to and engaged with them instantly, asking them to return to the movement.

“We swiftly did that. Now we are talking about a DA which is collapsing,” he said.

Just more than two months after Lungisa was released from prison, Trollip and Lawack were voted out in a dramatic council meeting.

Lungisa, who refers to himself as the “political commissar” of the ANC in the metro, said: “I was mandated to get rid of them. It’s our work to collapse them so that by next year in the general elections there is no DA here and they are wiped out. It will be worse when we go to 2021 local government elections; it [the DA] will be just a ghost.”

He said all the ANC did was to appeal to the black caucus in the DA to use their conscience when voting and remind them that in the northern areas people were still marginalised and the DA had no plan for them.

Nqaba Bhanga, DA leader in the Eastern Cape, said the ANC could not collapse the DA. He accused the ANC of bribing its councillors to turn against the DA and singled out councillor Victor Manyathi, who abstained from voting when Trollip was removed. It was alleged that he was offered R2 million.

Manyathi confirmed he was approached by the ANC to rejoin it but refuted claims he was offered a bribe of R2 million. “What Bhanga must accept is that the DA is no longer in charge in council and that a black caucus is in charge and not a white caucus any more.”

Manyathi said technically he was still a DA member and that what he did in the council meeting when he abstained from voting was to exercise his democratic right. He seemed to agree that more DA councillors would resign.

Last week two DA councillors, Trevor Louw and Neville Higgins, turned against the DA. They were the only DA councillors who attended a meeting by the new governing coalition in the metro, which includes the UDM, ANC, African Independent Congress and United Front.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  andile lungisa

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