The DA’s Nqaba Bhanga was elected mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay metro at a special council meeting. He was elected on Thursday after a marathon six-hour special council meeting.
The elections come a week after the court declared Bhanga’s 4 December election as mayor inconsistent with the Constitution of South Africa.
It was a two-horse race between Bhanga and the EFF’s Amandlangawethu Madaka. Bhanga beat Madaka after securing 62 votes, with the EFF councillor obtaining 57 votes.
Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya announced the election of Bhanga as mayor at 5:55pm.
Madaka was nominated by Patriotic Alliance councillor, Marlon Daniels, and seconded by ANC councillor, Lwandisile Jikeka.
Bhanga was nominated by COPE’s lone councillor, Siyasanga Sijadu, and seconded by the ACDC’s Lance Grootboom.
The elections come after a long day, which saw the special council meeting delayed by three hours. When it finally resumed at 1pm, it was adjourned twice.
Secret ballot voting
Voting took place through secret ballot from different buildings to ensure social distancing of the 119 councillors.
Voters were scattered between the metro’s disaster management offices in South End, Nonininzi Luzipho Building, Feather Market Hall and at the City Hall.
The Thursday elections come a week after the Port Elizabeth High Court declared incumbent Nqaba Bhanga’s 4 December election as mayor inconsistent with the constitution of South Africa.
The court ordered Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya to convene a special council meeting to elect a mayor within seven days of the order.
Before Bhanga’s controversial election in December, the metro had been without a full-time mayor for nearly a year after late UDM leader Mongameli Bobani was booted out through a motion of no confidence on 5 December 2019.
The elections come after Bhanga had settled out of court in the High Court case which was launched by Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha challenging the lawfulness of his election as mayor.
Bhanga was taken to court by Nqatha who had deemed his election “wrongful, unlawful and null and void” four days after Bhanga’s election.
The conditions of the out of court settlement between Bhanga and Nqatha, were that Bhanga would be only allowed to be a mayor for seven days until election of a new mayor.
In the December election, which sparked the court case, Bhanga elected mayor during a chaotic council meeting presided by Patriotic Alliance councillor Marlon Daniels.
This is after Mafaya, the rightful council speaker, was forcefully removed from her presiding chair by three men who stormed the council chambers.
Daniels was elected by majority of councillors to take over as speaker of the council that elected Bhanga.
On January 19, the Port Elizabeth High Court also declared Daniel’s election as council speaker inconsistent with the law and invalid.