D-Day for Nelson Mandela Bay coalition as council meets, security is tightened

Athol Trollip.
Athol Trollip.

All eyes are on Nelson Mandela Bay today as the Metro Council holds a special meeting in Port Elizabeth, at which mayor Athol Trollip is reportedly expected to push through the appointment of City Manager, Johan Mettler.

The tension between Trollip and his deputy mayor, the United Democratic Movement's Mongameli Bobani has threatened the livelihood of the Bay’s four-party coalition, which has afforded the Democratic Alliance leadership of the city since August 2016.

Many have speculated that the coalition will not survive beyond its first year, at most.

The ANC, in particular, have been holding their breath for the demise of this coalition, which they call a stokvel government.

The latest episode saw a mysterious media statement doing the rounds on social media.

The statement was purported to be coming from Trollip, but he denied being the author, writing it off as a malicious fake.

Read: ‘Fake’ statement on ‘major changes’ sows panic in shaky PE coalition.

Today, security has been beefed up and extra emergency vehicles have been dispatched to the council chambers.

It is not clear why the council has beefed up security.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, who were allegedly approached by Trollip to save the day because it was anticipated that Bobani would no longer be part of the coalition, are in full attendance.

As the council prepared to begin, they broke out in liberation songs and interestingly mocking both the DA and the ANC, who look up to them to strengthen both sides.

Bobani arrived dressed in style for the occasion, but he would not say what would happen in council today.

Following his failure to attend a coalition caucus, he hosted a “War on Waste” launch together with Trollip.

In support of Bobani, the UDM called a meeting on Wednesday to address several items pertaining to the treatment Bobani was allegedly receiving, including “the continued and intentional disrespect” of Bobani by senior municipal officials and the “intentional and calculated leaks” of Bobani’s contribution in confidential municipal meetings.

UDM regional executive committee member, Ludwe Ntoni, said they supported Bobani and the decisions he made in council.

“What worries us are the leaks of his contributions in confidential municipal meetings,” said Ntoni.

“Why do these leaks come about only where UDM is concerned, it is clear that someone is trying to sabotage him,” he said.

Ntoni said the coalition was not under threat.

“The tensions are only at sub-committee level and not in the coalition.”

Ntoni said the tensions are only teething problems that need to be attended to.

Today’s council will confirm if Trollip and Bobani were able to put their differences aside and focus on the better development of the coalition and the city.

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