South Africa 24.9.2017 01:47 pm

As rerun of election looms, DA puts on brave face in Nelson Mandela Bay

John Steenhuisen from the Democratic Alliance on the left with James Selfe of the DA at the KZN legislature after the visit of Nkandla homestead by the Ad hoc committee. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

John Steenhuisen from the Democratic Alliance on the left with James Selfe of the DA at the KZN legislature after the visit of Nkandla homestead by the Ad hoc committee. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

With only 59 councillors still in the coalition, the DA faces the challenge of retaining control of the hung council.

The Democratic Alliance remains committed to working with all its partners despite the troubles in the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) coalition government, DA federal council chairman James Selfe said on Sunday.

Reports on Sunday about the possibility of an election rerun in Nelson Mandela Bay “where a DA-led coalition has been in government, seek to distract us from the most pertinent issues”, he said.

The reality was that the people of NMB had rejected the African National Congress at the ballot box during the 2016 local government elections. They made it clear, through their vote, that they wanted total change. They gave the DA and its coalition partners the mandate to govern with the commitment to root out corruption, deliver basic services fairly and equitably.

The coalition government had already made great progress in rooting out corruption, bringing about financial stability, and delivering services across NMB, more so to poor areas which were neglected by the previous ANC government, Selfe said.

“We cannot seek to put those very same voters through an election when their voices have been heard loud and clear, not just in NMB but in Tshwane and the City of Johannesburg. We also cannot be held to ransom and be forced to make decisions which will not be in the best interest of the people that we serve.

“The DA remains committed to working with all our partners to ensure that we do not fail those who have entrusted us with a mandate to lead them to a corrupt-free and working city. We will continue to engage further with those whom we govern with so that we can ensure that we do not lose sight of what is most important, the voters,” Selfe said.

The ability of the DA to continue running the metro may be challenged due to the fact that coalition partner the UDM has turned its back on the party after it voted out the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani as deputy mayor. The Patriotic Alliance demanded to be given the vacant position, but mayor Athol Trollip refused, saying it would be blackmail.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa reportedly said he would not be opposed to seeing elections being run again in the metro. Holomisa told City Press he would also be satisfied if Trollip was also recalled and replaced as mayor by the DA. He would then continue to support the party’s administration in the city.

The EFF, with six councillors, could, however, still play a decisive role in keeping the DA in charge of the 120-seat council. The DA has 57 councillors, with coalition partners Cope and the ACDP offering one each.

The EFF has, however, been boycotting council sittings in Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg, a sign of weakness that the ANC has been trying to capitalise on.

– African News Agency (ANA)

 

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