South Africa: Chaos Is the Norm in Nelson Mandela Bay

The city of Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), with the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the foreground.

Nelson Mandela Bay has a new mayor, but not before the usual pandemonium broke out.

The council meeting started with the Gqeberha High Court dismissing an attempt to stop the meeting from continuing on Friday morning.

Ousted deputy mayor, Mkhuseli Jack, had filed an urgent application with the Gqeberha High Court to stop the council from debating motions of no-confidence against himself, Retief Odendaal and Bill Harrington in their respective positions of deputy mayor, mayor and chief whip.

Amid the chaos, a scuffle broke out over control of the mic between EFF and DA councillors, and security had to be called in. The DA's Retief Odendaal was finally booted out of the city's highest office.

The Northern Alliance's Gary van Niekerk was voted in as the new Nelson Mandela Bay mayor. He is Nelson Mandela Bay's third mayor since the 2021 local government elections.

The deputy mayor's seat was secured by ANC regional chairperson Babalwa Lobishe, with the chief whip's position also going to the ANC in the person of Wandisile Jikeka.

The ousting of the DA-led coalition government comes amid an ongoing legal battle to change NMBM's governance structure from a mayoral committee to a collective executive system.

The Democratic Alliance in the region had approached the court to stop EC Cogta MEC Zolile Williams from implementing amendments that would effectively change the City's governance structure.

Last December, Williams gazetted the Section 12 notice to give effect to this change, which the ousted DA-led coalition government challenged.

If the court rules in favour of Cogta, it would mean that the ANC would have to share power with the DA. Whether the ANC continues with the section 12 notice remains to be seen.

Pictured Above: Nelson Mandela Bay's new mayor, Gary Van Niekerk, with his deputy, Babalwa Lobishe and new council chief whip, Wandisile Jikeka

Image source: Supplied

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