- A new coalition government could soon take over the governance of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
- On Thursday, several opposition parties signed an agreement to oust the ANC-led alliance.
- The DA is the biggest party in the new agreement.
Opposition parties in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality have signed a coalition government agreement, taking the first step to oust the ANC-led alliance governing the metro.
On Thursday, parties met in Gqeberha for a signing ceremony to cement the deal that took just over four months to come together.
DA leader John Steenhuisen told journalists at a press conference that differences should be put aside to improve services.
He said he believed that coalition governments were South Africa’s future.
"Can we fix it? Yes, we can," Steenhuisen told journalists quoting the popular cartoon character Bob the Builder.
"We have different philosophies, different ideologies, but we found common ground around the key principles on what we want to achieve for the people of Nelson Mandela Bay. This is undoubtedly a city in great crisis that has been plagued by instability and too many people who have placed their interest above the interests of the people."
Asked about the DA’s mayoral candidate, Steenhuisen said Eastern Cape MPL Retief Odendaal would be put forward by the party.
Other positions are yet to be determined and announced.
Piet Mey, leader of the Freedom Front Plus in the Eastern Cape, said the City had been destroyed by the ANC’s weak leadership.
"I believe this coalition government will make a difference in the next six months," he said.
ACDP deputy president Wayne Thring welcomed the agreement and reiterated that it would work in the interests of ratepayers and residents.
The ACDP, African Independent Congress, Abantu Integrity Movement, DA, Freedom Front Plus, PAC, and the UDM agreed to form a coalition government.
The Northern Alliance (NA), who were once part of the talks, were not part of the new agreement.
Steenhuisen said an offer for the NA to take up a seat on the mayoral committee was still available.
"We hope they will take it and be part of this new movement," he said.
Should the parties successfully form a coalition, it would be the second change in government since the 2021 municipal elections.
Last year, Eugene Johnson was elected as the mayor of the metro - by a one-vote margin - over DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga, who is now in the provincial legislature.
Bhanga won 59 votes, while the Johnson got 60. During the 2021 municipal elections, the DA and ANC each won 48 seats.
Altogether, 119 votes were counted, no ballots were spoilt, and only one councillor from the DA was absent.
The parties have already started a petition to remove the current metro leadership.