DA leader Mmusi Maimane confirmed that the DA will be challenging the validity of former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip’s removal in court, and slamming the process that led to it as a “sham.”
At a press briefing on Tuesday morning, a visibly emotional Maimane said, “The sitting was procedurally invalid and lacked the authority to elect a new speaker. We’ve taken a decision to take the council decision on legal review”.
The source of the DA’s challenge is their belief that a law stating that the election of a speaker must be presided over by a municipal manager, “or if the municipal manager is not available, a person designated by the MEC for local government in the province” was wrongfully invoked.
Nelson Mandela Bay city manager Johann Mettler adjourned the council meeting because the council was not quorate, in his view, and could not elect a new speaker.
The ANC, UDM and EFF coalition claim that Mettler adjourned the meeting unlawfully, after which they appointed Cogta’s Fikile Xasa to preside over the subsequent vote of no confidence against Trollip and appointment of the ANC’s Buyelwa Mafaya as speaker.
The DA is arguing that Mettler was “both present and not incapacitate” and that Xasa’s invoking of Section 36(3) is therefore invalid.
A recently formed coalition comprising the ANC, EFF and UDM managed to remove Trollip as well as former speaker Jonathan Lawack on Monday after several attempts, this time with the help of a single rogue DA councillor Victor Manyati, who Maimane confirmed at the briefing will no longer be a member of the DA.
UDM’s Mongameli Bobani was elected the new mayor.
READ MORE: Trollip is staring down the barrel
According to Maimane, the coalition had repeatedly offered to help Manyati with his upcoming court case, in which he will be defending himself against fraud charges.
“They eventually got to him,” he said.
Maimane also said that he believes Trollip’s removal was punishment for their refusal to back expropriation without compensation, driven by the EFF.
“During the debate on expropriation without compensation Julius Malema made it clear that it is becoming a question of black parties versus white parties,” he said.
“The EFF was intent on cutting the throat of whiteness,” he added, echoing a statement that Malema had made at a speech in reference to Trollip.
“We cannot have parties for a certain race. Parties must be for every race,” he added.
Trollip had survived several previous attempts to vote him out. Last time round kingmakers the Patriotic Alliance (PA), who had threatened to side with the ANC, EFF and UDM, saved his skin when they changed their minds and said they would not vote against him.
They were still on the DA-led coalition’s side this time around, meaning that without Manyati’s betrayal of his party Trollip would have survived.