The EFF marched out of the Nelson Mandela Bay council chambers following a dispute with the speaker on the order of the meeting’s agenda items, where a scheduled motion of no confidence in Mayor Mongameli Bobani is due to be held.
Earlier, the ANC also indicated it was pulling out of the petition calling for Bobani’s removal.
It emerged in the council sitting that deputy mayor Thsonono Buyeye received threats that their family’s blood would be spilled if they voted for Bobani, with former NMB mayor Athol Trollip accusing the ANC of pulling out because of this.
Three parties have now back-tracked on the petition to remove him – the AIC, ANC and EFF.
Monday’s council sitting was dominated by arguments over whether the motion against Bobani should be heard first on the agenda, or later on.
The ANC announced it was officially pulling out of the petition based on a letter submitted by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to speaker Buyelwa Mafaya’s office.
ANC chief whip Bicks Ndoni said the letter, penned by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha, stated that city manager Nobuntu Mgogoshe does not possess the competencies and expertise to act in the position she was appointed to.
The ANC wanted the matter of Mgogoshe’s appointment to be debated first, as all council sittings should be held under the guidance of a city manager. In the absence of a city manager, an acting person must be present.
After Trollip accused Bobani of being behind the death threats leveled at Buyeye, an ANC councillor called on him to withdraw the accusation, which he refused to do.
“Councillor Bobani is busy mobilising an army of” small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs), Trollip claimed.
“Last year when he did that in December it resulted in 18 people being killed. Under no circumstances will I withdraw,” he added.
Trollip is referring to a R21m drain-cleaning contract which the DA believes “was awarded irregularly under Mayor Mongameli Bobani”.
Mafaya adjourned the meeting in order to hold a discussion with party whips.
“I have decided to seek legal advice, to reach a conclusion on the matter,” Mafaya said after the adjournment, and proposed that the council move on to other agenda items in the interim, such as the appointment of executive directors.
The six EFF councillors then left the council chambers, wanting the motion against Bobani to be held first.
The council meeting continues.