Athol Trollip. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
Athol Trollip. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

Nelson Mandela Bay metro could have a new coalition government in place before the end of next week if opposition parties follow through with their decision taken on Thursday to oust Athol Trollip as mayor.

The opposition parties — the ANC, EFF, Patriotic Alliance, African Independent Congress (AIC), United Democratic Front (UDM) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA), hold a combined 61 of the 120 seats in the council. The DA, the Congress of the People (COPE) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) have a total of 59.

At a meeting in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, leaders from the ANC, EFF, UDM, AIC, PA and United Front (UF) took a decision to remove Trollip through a no-confidence motion. The parties will then join forces to put a coalition government together.

Among those at the meeting were Faith Muthambi of the ANC, EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, Zanoxolo Wayile of UF, PA president Gayton McKenzie and AIC secretary-general Mahlubi Jafta.

Jafta said the opposition councillors were in the process of obtaining the signatures of 61 other councillors to petition speaker Jonathan Lawack to convene a special council meeting by next Friday.

McKenzie, whose party is a member of the coalition with the DA, COPE and ACDP, said they could "no longer be blind" to the land evictions of black and coloured residents in the city.

"We are removing this administration. [The] Bay needs new and fresh leadership — leadership that will not have youth run to Joburg for opportunities. Huge changes [are] coming," McKenzie said.

The decision comes four months after McKenzie’s party jumped into bed with the DA for a second time, saving Trollip from the second no-confidence vote. At the time, McKenzie said they could not support the EFF’s bid to oust Trollip because of his race. The PA’s sole councillor in the Bay, Marlon Daniels, was then given a position in Trollip’s executive committee in return.

New coalition

The UDM’s Bay leader and former deputy mayor, Mongameli Bobani, said the parties decided on Thursday to form a new coalition, adding that positions would be discussed at a later stage. "We’ll work out the intricacies as time goes on, but we know we can’t operate in a vacuum so we’ll have to sit down, draft policies and a manifesto," Bobani said.

"It’s important for us to set aside our differences and work together. The EFF and PA made history by sitting together and agreed on working together for the good of the people.

"Residents of the metro have suffered enough under Trollip. We want people to get the services they need," Bobani said.

ANC regional secretary Themba Xathula confirmed Muthambi represented the party at the meeting. "As the ANC, we are supporting that motion."

Wayile and Gardee did not respond to requests for comment. Trollip declined to comment, while DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga said: "They’ve done it before and they’re doing it again. We’ll face is as it comes; we’ve faced many votes of no confidence but what we’re doing right now is focusing on work that we’re doing."

The EFF could not be reached for comment.

However, in the past the party has refused to be part of any coalitions, but has voted with other opposition parties on various issues.