The ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality seems to be divided over whether to oust Mayor Mongameli Bobani.
This comes after some within the ANC caucus and smaller parties submitted a petition to Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya urging her to hold a special meeting by next Friday.
According to The Herald, the petition contained the signatures of ANC councillors Andile Lungisa, Andile Mfunda, Simphiwe Tshaka, Becinga Mbuqu, Xola Tyali and Mzuvukile Bodi.
The publication reported that all the councillors from the DA, Cope and ACDP had also signed as well as Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Marlon Daniels who is a member of the current coalition government.
Speaking to News24, two party insiders said the ANC was fractured over the petition, which went ahead without the backing of the entire caucus.
It is understood that some within the caucus want chief whip Bicks Ndoni to take over the position. Ndoni once held the position of deputy mayor.
The two party insiders said the black caucus, which comprises the smaller parties and ANC, wanted Bobani gone due to allegations of corruption and fraud being investigated against him. He is also being investigated by the Hawks.
"There is a debate around numbers. The ANC lost one councillor who was arrested and some say until that seat is retained by the party in by-elections, we cannot afford to lose Bobani's two seats in council."
However, the party insider said some were willing to take the risk.
"Some within the caucus are fed up. The man is incompetent, he is tainted with corruption charges on this IPTS bus system and they want him out sooner rather than later."
Mafaya, who has been on sick leave, told News24 she would be reporting for duty on Wednesday and would be meeting with party chief whips to discuss the matter.
It was understood ANC heavyweight Andile Lungisa was behind the petition, the source said.
"Lungisa and others want to see an ANC mayor but there is clear instruction from the PEC [provincial executive committee] that we cannot have an ANC mayor via the backdoor."
Earlier this year, Bobani faced a motion of no confidence against him. He, however, said he was not shaken or worried about the attempt to remove him, News24 reported.
The urgent notice of intent to lodge a motion of no confidence against Bobani was filed by the PA's Daniels and it was seconded by the ACDP's Lance Grootboom.
In the notice, which News24 has seen, Daniels stated Bobani could not be "trusted" in office. At the time, Bobani said the motion was the PA's way of seeking recognition.
"I am not even shaken. I am not even worried. As a collective government, we are busy now giving services to our people, so we will hear from the speaker how the motion will be handled," he added.
Bobani remained on as mayor after the PA deserted its motion of no confidence against him, News24 reported. The nine-hour council meeting was marred by bickering, intimidation, profanity and accusations.
Meanwhile, News24 previously reported the DA's efforts to oust Bobani were further enhanced by EFF leader Julius Malema who announced that he would no longer vote with the ANC in hung metros.
Malema announced during a media briefing at the party's headquarters in July the EFF would not vote with any party, including the DA and ANC, in council.
The DA in the metro had been in closed talks with the ANC in an effort to oust Bobani, and, according to an insider, had even offered the ANC a mayoral position if it helped to oust the mayor.