Having Cyril Ramaphosa as president while he is still surrounded by the same cronies who surrounded Jacob Zuma is like changing a dirty nappy but not cleaning the baby’s bum, according to former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip, who addressed local DA supporters at a party fundraiser at the Royal Alfred Marina clubhouse recently.
“It makes no difference – the bum is still dirty,” Trollip said, to much laughter.
Trollip was full of humorous quips about political rivals as well more sober reflection on what transpired in the metro when he was ousted by former deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani of the UDM in a coalition with the ANC.
Trollip spoke on behalf of the DA’s candidate for Eastern Cape premier in next year’s election, Nqaba Bhanga, who also attended the fundraiser.
He commended Bhanga, Andrew Whitfield, Annette Lovemore and the late Elza van Lingen as being stalwarts who all stepped down from Parliament to work towards winning the Nelson Mandela Metro in 2016.
“I’ll never forget you sacrificed everything,” Trollip said.
“My greatest regret is that we didn’t win an outright majority. We formed a coalition. We were by far the biggest party with 47% of the vote. The ANC had 41%. All the other parties were minority parties. We were the biggest party and change came to Nelson Mandela Bay,” he said.
“I must accept that what happened in Port Elizabeth is my responsibility. We were betrayed by one of our own – Victor Manyati. They did that through inducement. Manyati voted against the speaker, a good man.
“Manyati was broke when he joined the DA. Now he has two buses for his funeral service. I hope there ultimately will be an irony in that and he’ll ultimately be the undertaker for the ANC,” Trollip said to cheers.
“They wanted to replace our government because we closed the taps,” he said.
“Malema said, ‘Trollip is not corrupt, he does a good job, but we’ll never forgive the DA for their position on land expropriation and we’ll cut the throat of whiteness’. Malema said that,” Trollip said.
He reminded the audience that eight of nine DA provincial leaders were black and national leader Mmusi Maimane was black.
“Transformation is not something we talk about in the DA, transformation is something we do.
“I’m not a bean counter, but our council representation in Nelson Mandela Bay is a third white, a third coloured and a third black. The ANC has 50 councillors – one coloured and 49 black. The EFF are all black – they’re homogenous. No other party looks like us.”
He credited Maimane with adding the value of diversity to the DA’s existing values of freedom, fairness and opportunity.
“The ANC’s propaganda is to say the DA is racist. The EFF has the same propaganda, which is a bit rich because they’re all black,” Trollip said.
“We are the rainbow party in South Africa – that’s why we are considered a threat.
“People thought Ramaphosa was the best thing to happen to South Africa – he’s not,” Trollip said. “Ramaphosa is ANC and the ANC comes first. He’s made that clear.
“He’s the leader of an ANC far removed from what it used to be, when they marched in unison and led the struggle. People now bring guns and knives to ANC meetings and it’s not uncommon to hear of people being assassinated. The chief whip in Chris Hani Municipality was recently assassinated.”
Turning to the issue of land expropriation without compensation, Trollip said: “The EFF want everyone to become tenants of the state, with the state owning all land. The ANC now marches to the drumbeat of the EFF – they all want tenancy.
“The DA believes every person should be able to own their own land, for the family, and be able to raise a bond against it,” he said.
“Another thing – the EFF seeks to divide us on racial lines. I don’t need to tell you about what happened in Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, South Sudan and Rwanda. Racial nationalism only brings out the worst in parties.”
Trollip also spoke briefly about former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and the potential fallout of her departure from the DA. He said a forensic audit and the Steenhuisen Commission had found there was prima facie evidence to charge De Lille criminally based on irregularities in bus purchases and land sales.
As for starting her own party, Trollip said: “De Lille admitted in 2009 that starting your own party is hard. Starting your own party is a bit like opening a new pub or shebeen in town. Your first patrons are going to be the people kicked out of every other pub and shebeen in town. She’s going to find out she’ll get all the miscreants who’ve been kicked out of other parties.”
Drawing to a close, Trollip said: “Every time I read a negative headline about the DA it’s like a knife in my heart. But if I was an ANC member I’d be in a psych ward, because it’s not one negative headline here and there, it’s every day!”