DA at mercy of opposition parties in Nelson Mandela Bay

Fresh from a battle where it succeeded in booting out Mongameli Bobani as deputy mayor‚ the Nelson Mandela Bay coalition government is facing a new crisis – it is at the mercy of opposition parties to be able to properly govern the city.

Fresh from a battle where it succeeded in booting out Mongameli Bobani as deputy mayor‚ the Nelson Mandela Bay coalition government is facing a new crisis – it is at the mercy of opposition parties to be able to properly govern the city.

That is if the UDM follows through on its threat to pull out of the coalition should Bobani not be reinstated by Monday‚ and if the ANC‚ EFF‚ AIC and United Front decide to play hardball and boycott council meetings.

The DA-led coalition needs the backing of just one councillor from the opposition ranks to be able to convene a council meeting on its own and pass budgets‚ bylaws and other finance-related items as a 61-member majority is needed.

Currently‚ there is a hung council with a 60-60 member split between the coalition – excluding the UDM – and the opposition.

The seat allocations in the council are DA 57‚ ANC 50‚ EFF six‚ UDM two‚ and COPE‚ ACDP‚ United Front‚ AIC and PA one each.

The effects of having a hung council were evident at Thursday’s council meeting as the DA‚ ACDP‚ COPE and PA could not rubber-stamp amendments to the budget of the last financial year‚ as required by law‚ because the opposition and UDM refused to support it.

They argued that the budget changes must be debated further at committee meetings.

However‚ the amendments must be approved by the council by Thursday‚ which is the deadline for the municipality to submit its annual financial statements to the Auditor-General.

Failing to do so risks having tens of millions of rand declared unauthorised and irregular expenditure.

This would then have a negative impact on the municipality’s audit outcome for the 2016-17 financial year.

The amendments are for money that was spent in the past financial year but not necessarily on what it was originally budgeted for.

The changes then need to be regularised by the council.

Speaking about the effects of being one vote shy of an outright majority‚ mayor Athol Trollip said on Friday: “Now we have 60 votes in council – that makes it a hung council.

“There were a number of items that we couldn’t pass [on Thursday] because the UDM collaborated with the EFF‚ ANC and AIC.

“The appointment of an executive director for safety and security could not be done; there is a vacancy there and we need someone.

“We had to declare the city a disaster drought area – that was not done because there is no majority and they [opposition and UDM] walked out.

“There were also four items to regularise spending in the last financial year. We couldn’t pass those; in fact‚ Bobani‚ the EFF and the ANC rejected all of them. That will have a consequence in terms of having an [audit] qualification for this financial year‚” Trollip said.

 

Read more at HeraldLIVE

X