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Nqaba Bhanga will contest and win mayoral elections again – DA and UDM

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Nqaba Bhanga will contest and win mayoral elections again – DA and UDM

20th January 2021

By: News24Wire

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Nqaba Bhanga will contest for the mayoral position and win when the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro convenes elections for the new mayor within the next seven days.

This was according to Bhanga's party - the Democratic Alliance (DA). The United Democratic Movement (UDM) shared the same sentiment as the DA in this matter.

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On Tuesday, the DA reached an out of court settlement with Eastern Cape Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha.

Nqatha had taken Bhanga to court, challenging the lawfulness of his 4 December election as mayor.

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Nqatha wanted Bhanga removed from the post, arguing that his election was "wrongful, unlawful and null and void".

Bhanga agreed that he would be the mayor until the elections were convened for a new mayor to be appointed.

According to a statement from the Eastern Cape Cogta, the court declared that:

  • The election of the executive mayor was inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and was invalid;
  • The election of the acting speaker was inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and was invalid;
  • The speaker of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro had been ordered to convene a council meeting within seven days to elect the new executive mayor;
  • and the DA agreed to an out of court settlement.

'Smart move'

Bhanga was elected mayor during a chaotic council meeting presided over by Patriotic Alliance councillor Marlon Daniels.

This was after the presiding officer, council speaker Buyelwa Mafaya, was forcefully removed from her presiding chair by three men who stormed the council chambers.

Daniels was elected by the majority of councillors to take over as speaker of the council that elected Nqatha.

The metro had been without a full-time mayor for nearly a year after late UDM leader Mongameli Bobani was booted out through a motion of no-confidence.

On Tuesday, DA Eastern Cape chair Andrew Whitfield said settling out of court should not be seen as the DA conceding defeat.

"Nqaba Bhanga is still the mayor of NMB by order of the court until the conclusion of a new election. We maintain our case was strong, however, the case was extremely technical and could have gone either way. If we had proceeded with the case and won, it would have been appealed.

"If we lost, we would have appealed. This would have resulted in further lengthy litigation at the expense of taxpayers and further instability for the residents of NMB. This out of court settlement was achieved in the interest of progress and stability in NMB and to remove any doubt which may exist over Nqaba Bhanga as mayor. We are confident that Nqaba will be re-elected at the council meeting ordered by the court."

Whitfield added: "Stability and progress are key. In the last five weeks, the coalition of good governance has restored service delivery and hope to the streets of the Bay. The DA believes that the current coalition in NMB is doing excellent work and will continue to do so beyond the next council meeting."

UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa said come the mayoral election, the current coalition would return as is. He described the out of court settlement as a "smart move".

"The UDM is confident that there won't be any instability after seven days. After seven days, the current coalition will be returned back as it is," said Holomisa.

News24 was unsuccessful in its attempts at getting comment from ANC Eastern Cape provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayithobi and Nelson Mandela Bay ANC regional leader Andile Lungisa.

Their comments would be added once received.

Daniels, the Patriotic Alliance leader in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, declined to comment, saying he only gave live broadcast interviews to avoid being misquoted.

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