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

Athol Trollip and Mongameli Bobani in August 2016. Picture: Theo Jeptha
Athol Trollip and Mongameli Bobani in August 2016. Picture: Theo Jeptha

A mysterious media statement has left Nelson Mandela Bay’s turbulent political landscape in a state of panic and confusion.

The update, dated March 25 2017, says there will be major changes in the state of the Nelson Mandela Bay coalition agreement.

It claimed to have been issued by the “Democratic Alliance federal chairperson executive mayor”, followed by an unverified email address.

The Nelson Mandela Bay is run by a coalition of opposition parties, including the DA, the United Democratic Movement, the African Christian Democratic Party and the Congress of the People.

Mayor Athol Trollip denied any knowledge of the statement and its contents, and said it was “scandalous”.

“The recent media statement about the status of the coalition in the Nelson Mandela Metro being attributed to me, is fake news,” said Trollip.

“The phone number and email address are not mine and this is a flagrant [social] media red herring,” he said.

The mysterious press statement (unedited)

DA: Update on governance in Nelson Mandela Bay municipality

25 Mar 2017

The political changes in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) have undoubtedly given birth to a renewed sense of hope and commitment on the part of metro residents. DA-led coalition government’s mammoth task of resuscitating our ailing metro is continuing under very difficult circumstances.

Despite various challenges, we have made significant strides in many ways since ascending to power since August 2016. We have inculcated a new culture of clean governance and accountability, anchored on implementing an all-inclusive developmental agenda for metro and its residents, through a capable and competent corps of municipal staff.

In the past days there has been misunderstanding between the Executive Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Unfortunately the differences played into the public domain and it is with heavy heart to announce that there is breakdown of relationship between the Executive Mayor and Deputy Mayor. This has created trust deficit and all attempts to repair the relationship has failed.

It is upon this background, that the Executive Mayor of NMB metro and DA leader Mmusi Maimane had a meeting with EFF leader Julius Malema in Johannesburg on Friday the 24th March 2017. The meeting was fruitful and the leader of DA will pronounce the resolutions soon.

I want to assure the residents of the metro that decisions taken are in their best interests and EFF will be key in strategic positions of governance of the metro. The DA leader and EFF leader will furthermore look at replicating the same model to be implemented in all metros where DA is governing through coalition government.

DA has placed service delivery at the forefront of our agenda to bring about change, stop corruption and create much-needed jobs. EFF’s acceptance to our proposal is warmly welcomed for us to drive this agenda.

Issued by:

DA Federal Chairperson| Executive Mayor NMB

Telephone (041) 450- 9500

Email: reception@region.da.org.za

The statement followed yet another episode of disagreements. The initial dispute was based on the intended appointment of an acting head of corporate services. The coalition’s deputy mayor, Mongameli Bobani, said he was not consulted.

Bobani called Trollip, who is executive mayor of the Bay, “autocratic and stubborn”.

In a letter reportedly written to UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, Bobani said local communities felt betrayed by the UDM.

He said Trollip “wasn’t visible” in communities, and gave preference to a certain group of people.

Trollip stated that the coalition remained intact and “on track with our mission to take Nelson Mandela Bay forward”.

He said better service delivery, job creation and the eradication of corruption remained the priorities of the coalition.

City Press has confirmed the telephone number as that of the DA’s offices in central Port Elizabeth.

Due to the call being made outside the DA’s office hours, it was redirected to the voicemail service of the organisation. An email sent to the specified address was not rejected by the DA server.

City Press has also learnt that despite Trollip claiming that all was well with the coalition, he had allegedly made attempts to talk to the local EFF council and leaders to bring them on board.

The alleged offer was that of two mayoral council offers and Bobani’s seat as deputy mayor.

A source inside the EFF’s inner circle, who asked to speak anonymously, said the councillors declined the offer made to them by Trollip.

He said he didn’t want to be viewed as someone who spoke on party issues to the media.

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