It appears the coalition troubles in Nelson Mandela Bay are on shakier ground than ever with the Patriotic Alliance (PA) giving executive mayor Athol Trollip until Thursday morning to nominate its councillor, Marlon Daniels, as the new deputy mayor, or they will withdraw from the coalition.
Currently Trollip’s DA are governing by the skin of their teeth in a hung council split evenly with 57 DA councillors partnering with one each from the PA, ACDP and Cope against 60 from the ANC (50), UDM (2), EFF (6), AIC (1) and United Front of the Eastern Cape (1).
If the PA were to rejoin the opposition – where they were up until last month – the odds of Trollip and the DA remaining in control of the metro would shrink considerably, as they would face 61 against 59 if they are unable to patch things up with the UDM.
The UDM, led by Bantu Holomisa, was previously in coalition with the DA, and lost its attempt to urgently have the high court declare Bobani’s removal illegal.
PA councillor Marlon Daniels is now adamant he should be nominated for the vacant position of deputy mayor after he initially brought the ultimately successful motion of no confidence in the previous UDM incumbent Mongameli Bobani.
Daniels told The Citizen that he remained steadfast in his view that the deputy mayor should come from one of the coalition parties and, since he felt the PA had made a greater sacrifice for the position than either Cope or the ACDP, he saw himself as the logical choice.
“We have the most skin in this. [PA party president] Gayton [McKenzie] put his head on the block by going into a deal with the DA because he’s already in a coalition with the ANC in Ekurhuleni. That created a lot of tension. I was chairing the black caucus prior to the motion [against Bobani]. It was also a sacrifice for me.”
Daniels was given the vacant portfolio of public health after Bobani’s ousting, but explained his party had initially “asked for MMC of safety and security”.
“Athol Trollip said he’s not going to give us safety and security, we must take public health [Bobani’s previous role while deputy mayor]”.
Daniels said: “I told [Trollip] today in our meeting: ‘Mayor, it is all good and well that you’ve taken safety and security. If you take deputy mayor off the table now, too, then it means this is not a negotiation – it is dictating from you.'”
McKenzie told The Citizen he had personally given Trollip until Thursday [tomorrow] at 10am to nominate Daniels for the position or they would pull out of the coalition.
Trollip told The Citizen he preferred not to comment for the moment.