Athol Trollip.
Image: Gallo Images / City Press / Leon Sadiki

In what is likely one of the shortest‚ tersest political statements in recent memory‚ former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip had stinging words for his successor - just three words‚ in fact.

“You are illegitimate‚” Trollip said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The statement came after his successor‚ newly-appointed metro mayor Mongameli Bobani‚ hosted a media conference where he addressed the ongoing saga and friction between himself and municipal manager Johann Mettler.

A screengrab of a terse statement issued by Athol Trollip on September 5 2018. The former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor confirmed the statement. TimesLIVE has edited out his phone number.

Bobani had earlier signalled his intention to suspend Mettler‚ but appeared to backtrack at a scheduled media conference on Wednesday. At the conference‚ where they were meant to make “major announcements”‚ according to the invitation‚ Bobani passed the microphone to council chief whip Bicks Ndoni - who said‚ ultimately‚ the council had to decide if Mettler was to be suspended or fired.

Interestingly‚ in his terse statement‚ Trollip listed his position as “Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay”‚ and referred to Bobani simply as a councillor.

Trollip and Bobani have been at each other’s throats for months‚ but the matter came to a head just under two weeks ago when a coalition of parties - headed by the EFF and ANC - booted the DA-led coalition from key positions in the Port Elizabeth-based Nelson Mandela Bay municipality. Trollip was one of those removed.

When TimesLIVE asked Trollip on Thursday why he issued such a short statement‚ he showed almost as much brevity.

“I thought it was enough said about someone masquerading as the mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay at a press conference‚” he said.