Eastern Cape DA leader Nqaba Bhanga has resigned from the provincial legislature in order to run for Nelson Mandela Bay mayor.
Bhanga told this to News24 after he submitted his resignation on Wednesday.
"This decision is a difficult one, but I believe the situation in NMB, my birth place, is an emergency. It needs a man or woman who can change this situation for the better. This City can't continue in this tragedy of collapsing services and governance," he said.
He was among three candidates who had applied for the mayor position. DA governance unit leader James Selfe told News24 that the other two candidates had failed to meet the party's criteria.
DA interim leader John Steenhuisen told News24 he was confident that Bhanga, with his experience, would be capable of turning the situation around in the metro.
"That is why we are sending him to NMB to contest the mayoralty, and hopefully form a government that will be able to drive the DA to the 2021 local government elections."
After the 2016 elections, the DA-governed the municipality in a coalition with the UDM, Cope, ACDP and, at times, the Patriotic Alliance. It also had an agreement that the EFF would support then-mayor Athol Trollip. However, relations between Trollip and UDM's Mongameli Bobani, who was his deputy, soon soured.
In February 2018, EFF leader Julius Malema said he was going to "cut the throat of whiteness" by removing Trollip as mayor, after the DA failed to support the EFF's motion in the National Assembly to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.
After failed attempts to remove Trollip, the EFF, ANC and UDM finally succeeded in August 2018 during a dramatic council meeting. The ANC, UDM, African Independent Congress and United Front formed a minority coalition government, with the EFF's support.
Bobani was elected as the new mayor. As the allegations against Bobani mounted amid several service delivery failures, he was removed as mayor in December, and the EFF did not participate.
National government has since intervened in the City after a call by Premier Oscar Mabuyane.
In a statement, Bhanga said he would continue to work closely with the Eastern Cape legislature team in his capacity as DA provincial leader.
"I have full confidence in the legislature team to continue leading the charge to fix our broken province and fight for an environment of rising opportunity for all."