At last, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has finally carried the day in Nelson Mandela Bay following a formal election of the now DA-run municipality’s mayor Athol Trollip.
This comes after the party’s 46.71% win over ANC’s 40.92% in the August third local government elections, and after nearly two weeks of coalition discussions; as it failed to gather the 51% needed for an outright majority victory.
The South African second biggest party formally grabbed the mayoral position yesterday after a coalition discussion with the UDM, COPE and ACDP at the Grand Hotel in Port Elizabeth sailed through.
Coalition discussions with the four smaller parties kicked off hours after the EFF made a dramatic u-turn on forming a coalition with the DA in NMB. The EFF, however, promised to give maximum support to the DA against the ANC.
Agreement with the ‘new brides’ pulled through after UDM’s Mongameli Bobani and Thoko Tashangela, and Cope’s Siyasanga Sadjuda opted for good governance, an honest government, total emancipation and improved welfare service alongside the DA.
However, as Trollip was sworn-in today, ANC members rose and walked out of the meeting hall amid a loud ovation. DA’s Jonathan Lawack was also elected as Speaker of council while UDM’s Mongameli Bobani was sworn in as Trollip’s deputy.
Speaking at the event center, mayor Athol Trollip admitted that “Change has come to Nelson Mandela Bay and the elections have brought the ANC not only below 50%, they have been removed from power in the city.”
He disclosed that the parties have set priorities for the next five years; adding that they will stop corruption, grow the economy in the bay to create jobs and improve service delivery.
Meanwhile, reports said while the ACDP and COPE are tipped to spearhead prominent portfolios in the mayoral committee, the UDM won two seats in the bay while the ACDP and COPE won one seat each.
This is the first time an opposition party will wrest headship of Port Elizabeth from the hands of the African National Congress (ANC).