EFF in talks over ejecting Trollip as NMB Mayor

DA, ACDP and Cope have 59 seats on council, ANC, UDM, AIC, PA and EFF 61

Johannesburg - DA-led coalitions are beginning to crumble, at least in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) in the Eastern Cape.

News24 understands that the EFF in the region is leading talks with other opposition leaders to build a motion of no confidence against NMB Mayor Athol Trollip.

The instruction came from its leader Julius Malema last week. Speaking to journalists in Soweto recently, Malema said that Trollip's removal would be punishment for the DA voting against the EFF's land expropriation without compensation amendment bill in Parliament.

As it stands, the DA will have 59 votes along with its remaining coalition partners - ACDP and Cope - come April 6 when the EFF is scheduled to table its motion in the Bay. The EFF and its likely partners - the ANC, UDM, AIC and PA - will have 61 votes, which would send Trollip packing.

Last year, Trollip was saved by the EFF when a motion of no confidence was tabled against him by the Patriotic Alliance (PA), seconded by ousted deputy mayor and Trollip's nemesis, Mongameli Bobani of the UDM.

Cracks in the DA-led coalition started to show shortly after the August 2016 elections, with Bobani and Trollip started fighting over the administration of the municipality. Bobani was later fired by Trollip as his deputy.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the party still harboured ill feelings towards the DA over Bobani's ousting.

"Our man was shown the door unceremoniously on a fictitious accusation," Holomisa told News24 on Thursday.

'We are good at being opposition'

Holomisa did not deny that the party would vote with the EFF in Nelson Mandela Bay. However, he said that the two parties still enjoyed a relationship in Johannesburg.

"The structures of the UDM in the Bay will guide us as to what steps should we take in the event of the motion coming into fruition," he said.

A source, who is part of talks about Trollip, told News24 that the ANC in the province was not sold on the EFF proposal that former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas should take over the mayoral position.

"The ANC wants to appoint someone within the region. Jonas may not be favoured by the regional leadership and they cannot have the Metro divided once more going into the 2019 elections," the source said.

Controversial ANC chairperson Andile Lungisa, who is currently facing assault charges, has raised his hand for the position. The move is largely unpopular in the province, one ANC regional leader told News24.

A national DA federal executive member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the party was unlikely to grow in 2019, adding that the DA had "reached its sell-by date".

She said that they believed the ANC would retain a lot of its provinces, with the help of coalitions in some parts of the country.

"We are good at being opposition and, at this rate, we will just keep our Western Cape."

'Keep on defending whites and I will keep firing at you'

Though the party is taking the EFF’s threats seriously, the FedEx member did not think the threat to Trollip would affect Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga and Johannesburg’s Herman Mashaba, because they were black.

She said that Malema was sending a message to DA leader Mmusi Maimane: "Keep on defending whites and I will keep firing at you.

"One thing I can say is Mashaba has applied a business model to coalition politics and has done it well in Johannesburg. He works wonderfully with the EFF there, consults them at every step."

News24 resident analyst Mpumelelo Mkhabela said that, if the UDM and EFF supported the ANC, it might give voters a sense that they were not willing to sharpen the differences between themselves and the ANC.

"When going into an election, it is critical to highlight the differences between yourselves and other political parties," he said.

During an ANC elections workshop last week, head of elections Fikile Mbalula told journalists that the party had not closed its doors to a discussion, even before coalitions were formed.

"We need to speak to the EFF. We have always been open to talk on the question of coalition," Mbalula said.