The Democratic Alliance mayoral candidate for Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip would soon be called upon to speak the truth after publicity pictures showed him holding a fire hose on a rescue mission in a Port Elizabeth suburb on Saturday.
Trollip’s act of ‘kindness’ did not go down well with his colleagues, who raised eyebrows, surmising that there is something fishy about the whole drama- which they labelled ‘photo opportunity’.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality lashed out against Trollip for assisting a fire crew in extinguishing the fire that destroyed three homes in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas.
Speaking on Tuesday, the municipality said an internal investigation has been launched following Trollip’s firefighting “photo opportunity”.
Port Elizabeth’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, councillor Fikile Desi, has alluded to Trollip using the situation as a publicity stunt and posing for pictures where flames and smoke were visible.
He asserted that there is a begging need to properly investigate the act as the City won’t condole a situation where professional firemen and women are impeded during the execution of their duties.
“The critical question – how Mr Trollip managed to get a fire hose to pose for a photo session while flames and smoke are still clearly visible on the publicity pictures must now be answered,” Desi added.
The African National Congress (ANC) also slammed Trollip’s assistance, alleging it was a complete ‘public stunt’.
Athol Trollip Defends His Action
Meanwhile, Athol Trollip said he won’t apologize to any authority for “helping to save the lives and homes of fellow residents”. According to the mayoral candidate, it is one of his responsibilities to protect and safeguard the lives of the people as a public figure.
“With no emergency services on the scene yet, I could not drive past without helping, because I care for the people of this metro. Any person who cares and sees a fire and possessions being burnt would jump in and help in any way possible and that is exactly what I, and various DA councillors and activists did,” he said on Wednesday.
Also, DA Mandela Bay councillor Sandra Fillis‚ who spoke on Trollip’s behalf said she was at the scene at the time and that Trollip acted “instinctively” as the DA was the first to arrive on the scene.
Fillis added that as a caring Bay resident‚ the mayoral candidate acted instinctively by dousing the blaze firstly with buckets of water‚ and then with a hose found lying on the ground nearby.
Trollip earlier stated that “the ANC is so out of touch with the real issues of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay that they have laid a desperate complaint against me for helping.”
He said he knows the ANC would clearly prefer that people’s houses burn down rather than people getting all hands on deck to help.