Nelson Mandela Bay metro Mayor Athol Trollip survived a motion of no confidence this week, when council proceedings collapsed in chaos. But he may in be for a major surprise when the council reconvenes in 14 days to debate and vote on the motion. His DA councillors might turn against him.
City Press has learnt from some DA councillors that unhappiness with Trollip’s deal with minority party Patriotic Alliance (PA) might lead to their voting against him.
As a trade-off to help keep Trollip in his position, the PA has been offered a spot as member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for roads and transport and may be offered the deputy mayor position as well.
DA councillor Rano Kayser, currently MMC in the roads and transport portfolio, would be sacrificed to make way for the PA’s Marlon Daniels, according to an agreement both parties signed on Wednesday.
On Monday, Kayser launched the metro’s long-awaited integrated public transport system. It had been in limbo for 10 years, but he delivered it in 18 months.
Kayser said he was not pushed from the position. “I volunteered to save the party and retain the status quo. Serving the people is more important to me.”
Kayser’s move would hit his pocket, as his salary would drop from R87 000 a month as MMC, to R38 000 as an ordinary councillor.
DA councillors unhappy at Kayser’s axing threatened to retaliate.
“We want a secret ballot, so we don’t become victimised,” they said. They asked not to be named. They were worried that Trollip had not been taking the coloured community in Port Elizabeth seriously for a while now.
“We made his kingdom and now he is playing us. We’ve had one representative on his ‘important councillors’ list’ for almost two years now,” they said.
“We are the ones that gave him the vote that made the difference, with our hard work. We now see that coloureds are only good for the numbers game and benefits do not suit us.”
“Anyone could have been axed to make way for PA councillor Marlon Daniels. Why did it have to be Kayser?” they asked.
“He could have removed his sister’s son, Andrew Whitfield, to make way for the PA.”
They said they wanted a secret ballot because they did not want Trollip to scold and bully them.
“We have been forced to vote verbally in council before, one by one like naughty children. This is what Trollip is capable of. We don’t want to be humiliated because we are fighting for our rights to benefits,” they said.
Trollip told City Press he preferred to work with the PA instead of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) because “its leader Gayton McKenzie came to see me to say he could never support the removal of a mayor simply or crudely based on the colour of their skin. We both abhor racism.”
The DA came to power in Nelson Mandela Bay after the August 2016 local government elections, with the help of the African Christian Democratic Party, Congress of the People and the United Democratic Movement (UDM). Now it’s the PA’s turn.
The journey has been nothing less than dramatic and has turned the council into a circus.
The key players in the confusion were Trollip and the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani, until Daniels joined the fray.
Earlier this year, Daniels said Trollip used him.
Daniels tabled the motion to remove Bobani from his position as deputy mayor, then replaced him and, after three weeks, left the coalition with the DA.
Daniels said at the time: “I am now wide awake and he will no longer use me.”
Now Daniels is back, he supports Trollip and is on his way to his second position on the mayoral committee list.
Daniels said there was no rift between himself and Kayser.
“We are good friends and will continue to be.”
He said he left the “black caucus” due to what he called the arrogance of both the ANC and EFF.
“They wanted to play Animal Farm with the smaller parties, holding negotiations without us.
“I wouldn’t have any of that. I told them that we won’t allow an ANC face to lead this metro.”
He said he walked out of a caucus meeting in ANC councillor Mbulelo Gidane’s office, in KwaMagxaki, last Friday and made arrangements to talk to Trollip.
Former councillor Lawrence Troon, an ANC member in the Northern Areas, said Kayser’s axing should not be seen in isolation from the greater scheme of developments in the DA.
“Just like Lennit Max, Patricia de Lille and other coloureds, Rano has been used and dumped,” said Troon.
“He brought the numbers, drove the 2016 campaign which toppled Danny Jordaan, in our areas. He is no longer useful to them and they have dumped him,” said Troon.
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