Executive Mayor Athol Trollip comes from a politically active family in an Eastern Cape farming community. The former leader of the official opposition in Parliament was the provincial leader of the DA from 2002 to 2017, and was succeeded by Nqaba Bhanga.
Born in 1964 in Bedford, Athol was the fifth generation born on the family farm, Mount Prospect. He attended school at Woodridge College in Port Elizabeth and matriculated in 1981. He held various leadership positions in the school and on the sports fields.
He went on to study Agricultural Management at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, after which he travelled abroad working as a student farmer in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
Athol served his local community on a number of committees and was awarded honorary life membership of the Bedford Farmers Association and Bedford Club. He also served on the Regional Soil Conservation Committee and was an executive member of the Eastern Cape Agricultural Union.
Both Athol’s father and grandfather were actively involved in politics. His grandfather was a member of Parliament for the United Party, and his father was a candidate for the Provincial Council for the PFP and served on the Smaldeel District Council.
Athol was first elected as a public representative for the DP in 1995 and served as an executive member of the Amathole District Municipality. He was then elected to the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in 1999 and served two terms there until 2009.
In 2009 he was elected to the National Assembly and subsequently elected to lead the DA as the leader of the official opposition until 2012. Athol then returned to the legislature in the Eastern Cape and was elected to his third term as leader of the official opposition in the legislature in 2014.
Athol was elected as federal chairperson at the DA Federal Congress in May 2015, a position he holds in addition to his role as executive mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay.
Athol has two children, Roland and Kate. He and his wife, Janine, live in Port Elizabeth.