In an open letter addressed to the EFF on Wednesday, Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie responded to the EFF calling the PA a party of “thugs” and “unrepentant fraudsters” in their denial that they would support PA councillor Marlon Daniels’ bid to become Nelson Mandela Bay mayor.
He said that he had met with the EFF and other opposition members to discuss their future coalition in Braamfontein on Tuesday.
At that meeting, a vote was ultimately taken to decide on who should be the next mayor. All parties except the EFF, he said, had supported PA councillor Marlon Daniels, while the EFF supported the bid of the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM’s) Mongameli Bobani.
McKenzie said the PA and others present had accepted that Daniels had therefore won the vote.
The EFF’s national leadership surprised the PA with a statement echoing the same unflattering labels for them that Julius Malema and other senior EFF leaders have often used for McKenzie’s party, particularly earlier this year when Daniels sided with Trollip.
The EFF said they and other opposition parties had only thus far agreed to remove Trollip, but the EFF would not support “any candidate” from the PA, which they referred to as a party of “unrepentant fraudsters”, “thugs” and “gangsters”.
Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they would vote for Trollip to be ousted and then, if no candidate other than one from the PA were put forward, they would opt to rather not participate in the mayoral vote – potentially leading to a hung council.
The opposition has for months been attempting to lure the PA away from the coalition to its side. Daniels said earlier this year he had turned down the offer of the mayoral position before, claiming EFF members had been part of the offer – which they later vehemently denied.
Last week, Daniels, who has served as the member of the mayoral committee for roads and transport under Trollip, indicated he would no longer support the DA coalition, as it had allegedly not benefited his community.
PA president McKenzie said in his letter on Wednesday the PA remained committed to its promise to support the ousting of Trollip and was willing to remove Daniels’ candidacy for the mayorship, if that’s what it came to.
“A vote was taken,” he said. “Everyone except the EFF voted for the PA candidate, and thus the PA candidate was accepted as the winner. All of this took place in good spirits.
“The enmity between myself and Mr Malema is well known. We have had huge personal disagreements and have hurled many insults at each other at every opportunity.
“The PA, however, is the kingmaker in Nelson Mandela Bay. The government cannot be changed without our help in this metro. Whoever thinks it is possible without the PA is either dishonest or misinformed about the workings of local government.
“They tried without our support before, and failed.
“We have, however, seen the suffering of the poor in Nelson Mandela Bay. Few leaders in the PA, including myself, are career politicians. We are rather people who have dedicated our lives to create effectual change in the lives of those who need it most.”
He said that he could think of many “choice insults” to “offer the EFF in return, but we shall refrain because this is not the time for such games”.
“What they [the EFF] have done, however, raises worrying questions about how serious they actually are about removing Athol Trollip as the mayor. Their insults towards us could easily have scuttled our fragile deal, thereby retaining Trollip as mayor under the pretext of ‘opposition infighting’.
“The EFF has had no problem voting into power and keeping in power unrepentant racists and colonialists in other metros. But we will not give the EFF any excuse to retain the DA in power, and then allow them to point the finger at us for it.
“The PA was democratically chosen to lead Nelson Mandela Bay at the EFF’s offices. But clearly the EFF does not respect democracy when the democratic process doesn’t favour the EFF or is convenient for it to accept.
“A wise man once said he puts only one fist in the air because he has to hold back other Blacks with his other hand.
“We at the PA will opt to put both fists in the air. Honour is everything, and we shall honour our signature on the document we signed for the removal of the current DA government.”