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Opposition finally manages to wallop Trollip

Fourth time may have proven the charm as Athol Trollip might have finally lost his position of Nelson Mandela Bay’s mayor.

According to News24 the new mayor, the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani, was elected in Trollip’s place after a heated council meeting saw the speaker of the house axed in a motion of no confidence.

John Lawack the former speaker was removed in an extremely close vote of no confidence – 60 favoured the motion, 59 opposed it with one DA member abstaining.

That DA member was then sacked by the party and municipal manager Johann Mettler said he was no longer a councillor, leading the DA members present to get up and dance out of the doors.

Mettler said there was no longer a quorum but that didn’t stop the parties remaining from taking the opportunity to have a vote of no confidence against Trollip, which passed.

The Mail and Guardian reports that the DA is approaching the courts to have Trollip’s removal declared invalid.

“I do believe I’m still the mayor. I believe what transpired after the replacement of the speaker yesterday was unlawful,” Trollip said.

My Take

It probably would have been funnier if the EFF failed to remove Trollip yet again but this was kind of bound to happen eventually.

If this survives the court case here is how I see the decision:

The EFF wanted him gone because he is white. Julius Malema said as much when they began their campaign to oust him.

Bobani wanted him gone because the DA sacked him as deputy mayor. The DA weren’t happy with how Bobani kept voting with the ANC, and claimed two forensic audits had found maladministration, fraud, and tender irregularities involving departments directly under Bobani’s political watch, according to EWN.

The ANC wanted him out because of course they did, losing Nelson Mandela Bay to the DA was a major humiliation for them.

The thing that surprised me was that nobody was talking about Trollip’s performance as mayor – did he do a good job?

Times LIVE reported earlier this year that for the 2016-17 year, Nelson Mandela Bay achieved a report card of 59%, with an audit that was qualified on the basis of irregular expenditure and concerns around its property and equipment as well as transactions.

So Trollip wasn’t really doing a stunning job, not awful but not great either.

This is what is wrong with the whole racialisation of politics. A lot of us would struggle to come up with a concrete list of errors made by Trollip aside from his race, and really that’s the stuff that matters for future administrations.

We can’t learn not to have the wrong skin colour, we can learn not to do the wrong things, and not having that as part of the debate really hurts us going into the future.

And I can’t help but feel Bobani has received a poison chalice. If he stuffs up, even just a little bit, then a lot of the flaws of Trollip will be forgotten and his entire alliance suffers.

The fact that Trollip’s actual performance was kind of irrelevant to the debate, means that it will be remembered a lot more kindly than it deserves, which means Bobani has a struggle ahead of him.

So I hope for his sake Bobani doesn’t stuff up.

  • Pictures courtesy of the DA.
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