- The DA, EFF and UDM have urged voters not to support the ANC win back power in Nelson Mandela Bay.
- The DA says it has managed to run Nelson Mandela Bay well under a coalition partnership with other political parties.
- The ANC accused the DA of not doing anything meaningful since taking over power from it.
The UDM, DA and EFF have one thing in common in Nelson Mandela Bay; they all believe the ANC should never again be allowed to govern the Eastern Cape metro.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will be highly contested again in the municipal elections on 1 November.
The metro saw no political party win an outright majority in 2016, with the DA clinching more votes at 46.71%, while the ANC managed 40.92%.
A DA-led coalition government leads the city after it was briefly run by an ANC-led coalition.
All political parties campaigning in the area have high hopes for a majority, but that seems unlikely.
Like many other municipalities, the area has issues with service delivery, lack of housing and high unemployment.
In a News24 town hall debate on Thursday, hosted by News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson, the DA, EFF and UDM all placed the blame for the corruption and lack of services at the ANC's doorstep.
EFF regional chairperson Khanya Ngqisha said the ANC was corrupt and that was why its voter support had continued to decline over the years.
He added the party was only interested in governing Nelson Mandela Bay because it wanted to abuse state resources.
He insisted the EFF was the only party that could help the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.
The municipality's mayor, Nqaba Bhanga, said the DA-led coalition was hard at work fixing the issues left by the ANC. He added the DA had been able to deal with unqualified audits by the Auditor-General.
ANC regional task team leader Nceba Faku accused the DA of being anti-poor and not using National Treasury grants intended to assist the poor in the metro.
Faku said the DA had also failed to provide housing, electricity and water.
He agreed with a sentiment shared by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa that nothing had changed since the DA-led coalition took over.
Nqaba hit back at this accusation, saying when the DA took over it found assistance programmes were being abused by the ANC.
He also blamed the housing issues in the city on the ANC.
The capacity to provide housing was taken away from the City and handed over to the provincial government in 2015 because of corruption, Bhanga said.
The UDM deputy mayor in Nelson Mandela Bay, Luxolo Namette, disagreed with Faku, saying there were programmes in place to connect residents to water.
He said 80% of informal houses were electrified in the metro.
The UDM previously switched alliances in the metro from its support of a DA-led government in 2016. And in 2018, it switched its support to helping the ANC lead the city.
The party is now back in a coalition arrangement with the DA.
Namette said voters should not judge the party for its changing stance, adding it realised the ANC was unable to work with other parties because it was "arrogant".
He added the UDM had no fear of being swallowed by the DA.
"[The] UDM is principled and we cannot be swallowed by the DA, not today or ever. The UDM is pushing to get as many seats as we can so we can prove that we can run a clean and non-corrupt city," Namette said.
Meanwhile, Nqaba said the DA-led coalition was working well for the metro, adding the party hoped to win more than 50% of the vote to govern the metro on DA policies.
He added the issue with the ANC and EFF agreement was that it was based on racist terms.
The parties had partnered with racist intentions to remove former DA mayor Athol Trollip, Nqaba said.
Faku denied the ANC had racist intentions and said the party was not shy to point out racism where it recognised it.
He said the ANC saw coalitions as accidents and the party did not campaign with them in mind.
The EFF's Ngqisha insisted it would only partner with parties that shared its policies.