The Democratic Alliance (DA) says a legal opinion obtained by Nelson Mandela Bay City Manager Johann Mettler on the removal of Mayor Athol Trollip and replacement of Speaker Jonathan Lawack, has confirmed the party’s view that the two votes were unlawful.
The DA says the Municipal Structures Act provides that only if the municipal manager is not available, a person designated by the MEC for local government in the province, presides over the election of a speaker.
On Monday night, Mettler adjourned the council meeting after Lawack was ousted. Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance Fikile Xasa then presided over the votes to replace Lawack and remove Trollip.
The DA says this was illegal, because Mettler as the Municipal Manager was physically available to conduct the two votes.
The United Democratic Movement’s (UDM) Mongameli Bobani brought the motion of no confidence against Trollip. Bobani now occupies the position of Mayor.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has also welcomed the move to show Trollip the door. Indications are that the red berets are heading to Tshwane for a vote of no confidence against mayor Solly Msimanga on Thursday.
The ANC in the Tshwane Region has vowed to continue to table the motion of no confidence against Msimanga.
The EFF, which is the main party voting with the DA in that council, says arrogance is the reason behind Trollip being shown the door.
Trollip, however, remains adamant that he is still the Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. He says his ousting was unlawful and will be challenged in court.
“They collaborated to get rid of us, but their connivance was what we believe unlawful and we are going to challenge that, we are going to challenge it in the courts because we believe that the MEC undermined or overrode the responsibility of the City Manager, and we believe that he overreached.”
He was backed by the party leader, Mmusi Maimane. He says the new coalition of the UDM and ANC that ousted Trollip is undemocratic. Maimane says the DA will take it on legal review. “After having consulted with our legal team we’ve taken a resolute decision to say that we will be taking that on legal review. We are of the opinion that the sitting was procedurally invalid and lacked legit authority to elect a new speaker and subsequently to pass a motion of no confidence in the Mayor.”
The newly elected coalition administration in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro says it will be moving into the municipal offices to take over the administration. “The City Manager is dealing with the administration in terms of ensuring that the offices are being cleared up, and by two o’clock the City Manager has assured us that are offices will be fine, we’ll get into our office. The only person right now that will get to the office is the speaker. Her office is ready right now and she will immediately get to the office,” says newly elected Mayor Mongameli Bobani of the UDM.
Trollip’s ousting has raised many questions on whether or not coalition governments work in South Africa.
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