After nine hours of tension, frustration, screaming and heated exchanges, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality special council meeting, which was anticipating the removal of Mayor Mongameli Bobani, finally collapsed.
This was the fourth attempt to oust Bobani from his mayoral position, among the many others that fell flat.
Council speaker Buyelwa Mafaya walked out of the council while opposition parties were shouting and screaming foul during the presentation of a second legal opinion on a better route to follow in order to manage the feisty meeting.
The meeting, which started on a difficult note followed by an adjournment of 30 minutes as soon as it took off, set the tone for more adjournments, loud exchanges and several walkouts from the chambers.
By Monday afternoon, the marathon meeting, which resulted in the EFF walking out, had not tabled the first item on its agenda.
Despite having only two items on the agenda – the motion of no confidence and appointments of section 56 managers, the meeting still could not meet its targets for the day.
The first dispute was the order of the items on the agenda. The EFF had attempted to get the motion of no confidence to be heard first before the appointments of the executive directors could be tabled.
After lengthy and heated exchanges about this, Mafaya opted to use a legal opinion to make a decision on what sequence should be used to proceed with the meeting.
DA caucus leader Athol Trollip called the meeting a miscarriage of the intended purpose to remove Bobani.
“Speaker, earlier you talked about the birth of triplets in this council meeting – but all the meeting has produced is a miscarriage,” said Trollip.
Mafaya eventually used her powers to drive the council to deal with the appointment of five section 56 managers to replace the executive directors who had been sacked by Bobani at the beginning of October.
None of the positions were filled, instead the appointments were used as bargaining tools to secure Bobani’s removal.
Lulamile Moolman, the special adviser to Deputy Mayor Thsonono Buyeye of the AIC, told News24 after the meeting Buyeye was disappointed at how the matter had been handled.
“Personal agendas were used to defend Bobani, none of what happened today was in the interest of the city.”
Moolman said the AIC had retracted its support for the motion because death threats had been levelled against Buyeye and his family.
“We had to make the decision based on the fact that death is permanent, but council would have continued and people would eventually forget that a life had been lost in efforts to fight against a corrupt clique.”
He said this would have been the case if Buyeye had continued to support the motion and then killed as the threats indicated, adding the City was being run by thugs.
“Going forward, we won’t blindly support votes without due consideration for the City and its residents.”
Moolman added the Black Caucus had collapsed the day the United Front and the UDM made threats against anyone who worked against Bobani’s leadership.
Meanwhile, the DA’s Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga, said he would support the move to put Nelson Mandela Bay under section 139(a), which means it will be put under administration.
“We will go to court and also make sure that the City is put under administration,” added Bhanga.
Bobani’s parting words were short and directed to the DA.
“They have lost many leaders. They lost Mashaba, they lost Maimane, they even lost Trollip. I was surprised when he spoke in this council today because he has resigned from the leadership positions of the DA,” he said.
“They have lost before, they will lose again, again and again, until 2021 when they will eventually vanish,” added Bobani.