By: Esethu Matetu
Port Elizabeth- The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality finally passed the budget on Wednesday morning after a number of council meetings adjourned.
On Tuesday morning the municipality had a council meeting which did not end as expected. The budget was represented to the council for the third time which led the councilor to say that the budget had not changed and he felt like it was a waste of time since it was something that had been presented to them before. The opposition parties were then given a chance to respond to the budget.
The ANC’s response was “Challenges of the inequalities facing the City should be at the center of the budget. Homelessness and unemployment are the major things and creating labour intensive jobs and we do not see that very strongly addressed, therefore the ANC is not supporting and accepting the budget.’’
Zilindile Vena from the EFF responded by reminding the council that a few weeks ago the EFF told the speaker that the City Mayor Athol Trollip should sign the budget, and that they were looked as if they were stupid. The City Mayor has now signed the budget and it turns out that the EFF was right “as usual” and they wanted to be recognized. He added by saying: “We will not vote for the budget, because this council does not take us serious, we will not be misled by the R21 Million”.
Councilor Bobani of the UDM said that the priorities of the wards had not been checked and there was no public participation. He also stated that there was no service delivery, therefore the UDM would only support a proper and a people’s budget, therefore the UDM would not accept the budget until the poor were accommodated.
The AIC councilor Thsonono Buyeye said that he had been instructed by the AIC leadership to ensure that the municipality was not placed under administration by supporting the budget despite the fact that some important issues were not addressed in the budget. After saying so he walked out of the council chamber and left the DA and coalition parties with not enough votes to approve the budget.
All other opposition parties also walked out of the council and the meeting was adjourned and continued on Wednesday morning.
After Tuesday’s meeting, the executive mayor Athol Trollip said “At the beginning of the budget process a part of the ANC was appreciative of what had happened in the budget reprocess but councilor Lungisa made it clear from the beginning [that] he wanted to be put on record that the ANC will not support the budget that was some weeks ago. The EFF’s commander in chief Julius Malema has instructed them not agree to anything I say and have also instructed them to get rid of me, they tried a several times but did not succeed. We understand the background and the history of UDM councilor Bobani and that has now teamed up with councilor Lungisa and they make an interesting pair, so that leaves two other oppositional parties the AIC and the United Front. We all saw councilor Lungisa going up and taking phone calls in the public gallery and not too long after that councilor Lungisa, Bobani and Buyeye also left. Obviously there have been instructions at their national leadership level which resulted in placing councilor Buyeye in a very invidious position. It is clear that there are some people in this council who hanker for the past they want the old status quo. We are not going to give up and we are not going to hand the city to people who want a status quo and win the elections. We are going to fight and not give up.’’
On Wednesday morning before the council meeting started all the opposition parties councilor’s were outside the council chambers but did not get into the meeting. Even though Councilor Buyeye was an an hour late, he was the one who made it possible for the budget to pass because he was instructed to do so. After voting he quickly left the chamber without saying a word. The UF councilor Mkuseli Mtsila also attended the meeting but did not support the budget.
Another council meeting will be next week Wednesday to discuss other items on the Agenda.