NMB Mayor Bhanga vows he is “here to stay”

Mkhuseli Sizani

Xolile Nqatha, Eastern Cape MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, has declared his election null and void.

But Nqaba Bhanga, the newly elected Democratic Alliance Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, says he is here to stay.

Bhanga said Nqatha has no powers to remove him.

“Only the court or a vote of no confidence can remove me,” said Bhanga.

The MEC sent a letter this morning to Council Speaker Bulelwa Mafaya declaring Bhanga’s election null and void.

“The Department has received a report from the Acting City Manager about the proceedings on 4 December in the Nelson Mandela Bay council,” said Nqatha’s spokesperson, Makhaya Komisa. 

“The report clearly shows that the election of the acting speaker by councillors to preside over the election of an executive mayor was done in contravention of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act.” 

The letter said neither the Acting City Manager nor a person designated by the MEC presided over the election of the acting speaker and the election of the acting speaker was therefore unlawful because the speaker of the council has not resigned. 

“All the actions on that day were null and void especially to preside over the election of the Executive Mayor.”

Bhanga told a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that the letter of the MEC is an attempt at setting aside the election of an Executive Mayor without following due process. 

“There are only two ways in which I, Nqaba Bhanga, can be removed as Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay,” he said.

“Firstly, a court can set aside my election as Executive Mayor. Secondly, I can be removed by a motion of no confidence which is supported by a majority of councillors in council.” 

He said the election of an executive mayor certainly does not require the concurrence of the MEC. 

Bhanga also lambasted the MEC for failing to intervene when he asked him to do so. 

“This municipality has been without an executive mayor for a year. During this time the MEC was hesitant to intervene. I have personally requested on numerous occasions that he must make sure that an executive mayor is elected in NMB.”