Two political events happened in Port Elizabeth on Thursday. First, the Democratic Alliance (DA) held a press briefing to complain that the municipality had refused to sanction their protest march.
And second, the African National Congress (ANC) Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte welcomed a group of disgruntled former DA members into its fold.
DA Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral candidate Athol Trollip earlier held a press conference outside Port Elizabeth City Hall, where he slammed the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for denying the party permission to hold an anti-Zuma picket in the city.
Trollip said the application to hold a protest outside City Hall was denied the day before.
“The application was turned down yesterday [Wednesday] and I think by design is very strategic … we should have had it turned down last week if they were going to,” said Trollip.
“We asked to move the picket to The Donkin, which was also turned down for security reasons. The DA has never been a political party of violence, we have never done anything to harm our political opponents nor the government. The government is obviously now paranoid.”
Trollip said that DA activists subsequently were deployed to the streets of Nelson Mandela Bay in groups of 10.
“Do you remember during the apartheid days a gathering could not be more than 15 people. So now we gathering in groups of 10 to take our message and pamphlets to people to say a broken mayor and a broken administration are defending a broken president,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of Vuyisile mini square at City Hall, former DA councillor Knight Mali and DA councillor Mzukisi Ncamani – together with a group of over 50 DA members – staged a protest calling for Trollip to fall.
Ncamani said that they were unhappy about racism within the DA.
“As the community of Motherwell we have been voicing this concerns within the DA structures but to no avail, we are saying that Trollip can never be a mayor because he is full of racism, he has this history and racist tendencies. We were chastised,” said Ncamani.
In a twist of events, former councillor Mali later announced to ANC Deputy Security General Jessie Duarte that the group would be joining the ANC.
Mali was previously suspended for bringing the DA into disrepute. Earlier this year the Port Elizabeth High Court ordered the party to reinstate him.
Mali had earlier expressed his outrage when UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani was called a ‘bobbejaan’ (baboon) by Nelson Mandela Bay DA councillor Chris Roberts.
Mali said instead of dealing with the issues of racism, the DA continued to let “people that are racist” serve in Nelson Mandela Bay. He further slammed the DA for having double standards when it came to individual members.
“Instead the DA has supported those people, it has protected them in the DA, we are saying that we don’t want the apartheid to come back and therefore we are going home to the ANC,” said Mali.
Trollip called the group “former members” and described Mali as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that had finally been exposed.
“Mr Mali in particular had his membership terminated because he precipitated what was clearly orchestrated affidavits that printed me as a racist or abused my farm workers,” said Trollip.
“This has been reported to the Human Rights Commission who have declined to investigate it because the evidence is so patently weak and pathetic, but that’s not good enough for me I want to hold those people to account.
“So Mr Mali and Mr Troon and all the other people who went to Bedford to cook up these allegations, they’ll have their day in court,” said Trollip
Mali and Ncamani then changed their attire to t-shirts printed with an ANC logo. Duarte thanked Mali for “seeing the light”.
“We would like you, all of you to become active members in an ANC branch. We will arrange that you join branches properly and for you to become hardworking activists,” said Duarte.
“Thank you for seeing the light and for coming home to the only organisation that can take our country forward.”
– African News Agency (ANA)