The third attempt to vote out Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip through an EFF-sponsored motion of no confidence has not come to fruition.
The matter, now ongoing for two months, has been delayed again — by the party that tabled the motion.
This is a result of the delicate balance of forces between parties represented on the city's council, where a handful of votes could tip the scales between the governing DA and their opposition in the metro, the ANC.
The EFF was adamant in March, when it first brought the motion, that it would remove Trollip as "punishment" for the DA not supporting its motion in Parliament for a constitutional review to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
The EFF Caucus in Nelson Mandela Bay postponed, not withdrew the Motion of No Confidence against Athol Trollip. The DA took advantage of the sentencing of Andile Lungisa and proposed to debate the motion now because it gave them a slight majority. Trollip will Fall. No Retreat!— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) May 10, 2018
News agencies earlier reported that the EFF, the UDM and the AIC had all withdrawn the motion tabled against Trollip — but the red berets have rubbished the claims, saying the motion has not be withdrawn, merely postponed to a later date.
EFF Eastern Cape leader Yazini Tetyana said because two of the ANC councillors have been incarcerated, the party realised it did not have sufficient numbers to win the motion.
"We have not withdrawn any motion. Two of the ANC's members have been removed. The DA was strategic; they waited for the outcome of the sentencing and scheduled the motion thereafter, because they knew they would have the majority," he said.
"We realised we did not have the numbers if the sitting proceeded today. We would not forfeit our right to have this motion tabled again. We are now pushing for a secret ballot and will even approach the courts. We are not stalling, and we are not going to fail."
The Motion of No Confidence in Trolip in Nelson Mandela will take place. It is not withdrawn, its simply postponed. We are looking to secure a secrete ballot because we have 10 DA councilors who will vote with us first to remove the Speaker, then the Mayor! #Asijiki— #RegisterToVoteEFF (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) May 10, 2018
The EFF now wants the motion to be heard at a caucus sitting in two weeks.
Although the EFF holds only six of the 120 seats on Nelson Mandela Bay council, its threat is substantial because of the balance of power.
In the 2016 local government elections, the DA acquired 57 seats to the ANC's 50. The other seats went to the EFF (6), the United Democratic Movement (2), African Christian Democratic Party (1), Congress of the People (1), African Independent Congress (1), Patriotic Alliance (1), and the United Front of the Eastern Cape (1).
With two voters removed from the ANC and the PA, Cope and ACDP siding with the DA, the EFF had little chance of a successful motion.
Independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the EFF was convinced it could remove Trollip.
"It's a surprise. They raised the matter on a question of principle because Trollip is white, but what has changed? They took a huge step in this regard to bring a motion of no confidence, now there is a turnaround without any real explanation," he said.
"If you continue to flip-flop without explanation, it means whatever you were doing was based on political expediency. This will be embarrassing for them."