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Anything to stay in power

By Anita Dangazele

The ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay seems prepared to do anything to hold on to even an ounce of power in the embattled city. They’re ready to give up the mayor’s seat and back Northern Alliance president (NA) Gary van Niekerk as their preferred candidate for the position of mayor.

On Monday, it became apparent that opposition parties in Nelson Mandela Bay intend to break the DA-led coalition government from the inside by partnering up with unhappy members of the bloc — the NA, PAC and the African Independent Congress (AIC).

The ANC, EFF, Patriotic Alliance, NA, PAC and AIC signed a formal coalition agreement on Tuesday in a closed multi-party session, ensuring the parties a combined majority of 62 seats.

The ANC will take up the positions of deputy mayor and chief whip, while the metro’s top seat will go to the Northern Alliance. The EFF says it’s happy occupying service delivery positions.

ANC insiders say the coalition agreement between the parties has a strong focus on fighting crime in the coloured and black communities that have been plagued by violent shootings in recent months.

“Beyond that, the parties to this agreement are committed to improving the business environment by making it easier to do business within the municipality,” said an insider, “and be tough on crime and tougher on the causes thereof, such as drug dealing, by investing in localised law enforcement and tackling the local conditions which give rise to crime.”

The EFF filed a petition calling for a special council meeting to sit on 26 May accompanied by motions of no confidence against the mayor, deputy mayor and chief whip.

The NA’s Van Niekerk, who is the council speaker, said he knows that the current coalition government will not go down without a fight.

However, he said, “I can’t see how they can fight this. If they want to fight anything they should focus on corruption because 62 councillors signed [the petition] and there’s nothing they can do to undo an imminent eventuality.”

Pictured above: National Alliance leader, Gary van Niekerk

Image source: Supplied