“You are not a DA speaker, you are a speaker of a council made up of nine parties – you must not be irritated,” Nelson Mandela Bay speaker Jonathan Lawack was this morning told by an EFF councillor.
The council is holding another special council meeting that will primarily deal with the removal of executive mayor Athol Trollip through a motion of no confidence. The meeting collapsed last week, and was postponed.
Lawack was heckled by councillors from both the ANC and EFF when he ruled that only three minutes would be allocated to pay homage to fallen struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The EFF insisted that parties should receive five minutes, as “we also have Solomon Mahlangu and Chris Hani”.
DA councillor Nqaba Banga told the other councillors they were trivialising the matter. Yoliswa Yako of the EFF said what was trivialising the matter was that the DA-led administration had failed to observe a moment of silence before the meeting resumed and that flags did not fly at half-mast. The party said they would also use today’s tributes to “remember the arrival of those who stole our father’s land in 1652” and called for expropriation of land.
“It is disappointing that the flag has not been raised at half-mast. Mama Winne suffered while she was alive. I think if it was someone else from the other side, the flag would have been dropped.
“She was not just the wife of Nelson Mandela, but a freedom fighter in her own right. We are still not afforded an opportunity for a woman caucus in this council, we are still bullied as women in this country,” said an ANC councillor.
The ANC urged that the council must serve all residents of the Port Elizabeth-based metro municipality, not just for the “privileged few”, with the opposition coucillors urging the DA to inform “whoever” is in charge of “federal” to heed the call for expropriation of land without compensation to honour the spirit of Winnie Mandela.
A UDM councillor continued: “Lala ngonxolo [rest in peace], mama, as South Africa moves dangerously towards apartheid. We say she will be remembered as a fiery and vocal freedom fighter.
“After the Rivonia trial, she became Madiba’s public face. She was herself never deterred from playing her role, which saw her go to jail in Braamfontein. The cell in which she was incarcerated, a chill runs down my spine when one thinks what a black woman’s life was worth those days.”
The meeting continues, with the results expected in the afternoon, as the voting will only take place once the debate has been concluded.