Matatiele holds key to Bay politics

The Nelson Mandela Bay metro narrowly escaped being placed under administration by the Eastern Cape government this week when the Democratic Alliance’s budget was passed in the council with the support of the African Independent Congress (AIC) — a party that is in an alliance elsewhere with the ANC.

But the DA’s relationship with its most significant coalition partner, the United Democratic Movement, is in tatters, and the country’s official opposition can no longer bank on support from the Economic Freedom Fighters, which propelled Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip to power.

The DA took over Nelson Mandela Bay after entering into a coalition agreement with the UDM, the Patriotic Alliance, the African Christian Democratic Party and the Congress of the People, supported by the EFF.

But the UDM, the EFF and the ANC walked out of the budget vote in Port Elizabeth three times this year, saying the DA’s expenditure plan was anti-poor. A small party, the United Front, voted against it.

READ MORE: Nelson Mandela Bay municipality finally passes its budget after fourth attempt

Without the support of the UDM and the EFF, the DA was short of one vote to achieve a majority — putting the council at risk of being placed under administration.

In February, the DA’s relationship with the UDM abruptly ended when Trollip fired the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani as deputy mayor, citing an irreparable breakdown in their relationship.

This week, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said his party “has long been shown the door by the DA in that municipality and we are enjoying our role [in opposition to them] currently”.

Then, a month later, the EFF announced the end of its support for Trollip’s leadership when the DA voted against a National Assembly motion to amend the Constitution to allow for land to be expropriated without compensation.

“We have taken a decision that we are going to remove the mayor of Port Elizabeth … We are cutting the throat of whiteness,” EFF leader Julius Malema said at the time.

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