The DA’s Athol Trollip. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI
The DA’s Athol Trollip. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip will face a third motion of no confidence after council speaker Jonathan Lawack received political and legal advice on the matter.

The EFF-sponsored motion will be on the council agenda for the third time on Thursday.

Two prior special council meetings had to be adjourned before the matter was debated or voted on. The EFF had initially tabled the motion against Trollip, who is also the federal chairman of the DA, in a bid to punish his party for not supporting land expropriation without compensation.

A special council meeting held on April 10 ended in a shouting match, after which Lawack declared the meeting “permanently adjourned”.

It was, however, not so permanent, as the city indicated on Monday that the meeting would be reconvened once more. Lawack told Business Day that he had decided to hear the motion after receiving advice.

“In terms of that advice that I received I have decided to go ahead and let’s get this over and done with. Let’s put this to bed finally,” Lawack said.

He said he had received political advice from the DA, of which he is a member, as well as external legal advice.

Lawack indicated he could not divulge the “intricacies” of his engagements on the motion.

The motion was supported by the EFF, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), which was originally part of the governing coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay, as well the ANC.

After the first motion was tabled, Trollip managed to secure the support of the majority of councillors in last-minute political manoeuvring.

There has been no indication so far that the balance of power has shifted since the most recent attempt at the motion, in April. Trollip was expected to survive the April motion after the Patriotic Alliance (PA) entered into a coalition with the DA the day before the vote was initially set to take place.

In a stroke of luck for the coalition government, the African Independent Congress (AIC), an official coalition partner of the ANC, decided to support the coalition partners in keeping Trollip in power.

That decision by the AIC was taken in an effort to punish the ANC after it emerged that the governing party had reneged on a promise to support the incorporation of the Eastern Cape town of Matatiele into KwaZulu-Natal. It was one of the promises the ANC had made to the AIC to secure the latter’s support in Ekurhuleni, the sole metro in Gauteng governed by the ANC.

AIC spokesman Aubrey Mhlongo said on Monday that nothing had changed yet regarding the mandate of its councillor in the Bay. This increased the probability of Trollip surviving the motion on Thursday if every councillor from the coalition and the AIC voted as expected.

He needs 61 votes cast against the motion in the 120-seat council.

The coalition comprises the DA, Congress of the People, African Christian Democratic Party and the PA, which together have 60 seats in council.