root - January 30, 2024

Councillor Messie Makuwa learnt of her recall just moments before a City of Cape Town council caucus  

Makuwa says she is ready to fight her recall in court.

Peter Luhanga  

In a dramatic turn, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has unexpectedly recalled a councillor from a densely populated municipal ward in Dunoon, Cape Town. 

Councillor Messie Makuwa, deployed by her political party to secure Cape Town’s Ward 104 in the 2021 municipal elections, now faces an unexpected truncation of her term. 

This follows allegations from the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) Dunoon branch that there is an irreparable breakdown in community engagement.

Makuwa learnt about her dismissal last Friday as she was on her way to attend the City of Cape Town council caucus. The regional secretary of her party’s Dullah Omar region intercepted her just before entering the council, expressing the intent to personally inform her about the recall before she heard it elsewhere.

Makuwa says she has not received any formal letter notifying her of the recall. However, a document on an official ANC letterhead  to this effect has been circulating on social media, and was posted on the local election team’s WhatsApp group.

Makuwa has vowed to oppose her recall, adamantly stating that her organisation failed to follow proper channels. She says the accusations against her were made without affording her an opportunity to present her side, and she has not been summoned before the party’s disciplinary committee. She questions the legitimacy of her dismissal in the light of her performance in the subcouncil.

“They never took me to the DC (disciplinary committee). As a councillor you’re summoned to a DC. As a councillor I’ve performed very well. They cannot just recall me as if they’re recalling a dog. I won’t accept it lying low. I am prepared to take them to court. I am prepared to go hungry to pay legal costs.  They’re not going to tell me just like that,” says Makuwa.

She says some of the allegations levelled against her by the Sanco Dunoon branch include accusations related to residents of the Ethembeni informal settlement which suffered a devastating fire last July. Residents demanding electricity threw domestic waste at her office, accusing her of failing to provide electricity.

“I am not Eskom. Is it my fault that Eskom did not provide electricity (after the shack fire in Ethembeni)? I am not going to let it lie low. I’ll take it further. They’ve defamed my character. They have an agenda (Sanco Dunoon branch)…I’ll destroy it (the agenda). I am prepared. I’ve already consulted lawyers.”

She says other accusations from the Sanco Dunoon branch are that she has allied herself to the DA, despite having no ties to the party. 

“It’s been more than 25-years since I am working in Dunoon for the ANC. I have used my resources to campaign for the ANC,” she says.

She believes certain members of the Sanco Dunoon branch wanted her to fight for them to receive municipal tenders, and she says she will make sure they are exposed.

Sinethemba Matomela, the chairperson of Sanco in Dunoon, says the ANC is on the right track in recalling councillor Makuwa.

“The ANC has done something good for us. As Sanco we applaud the ANC for taking that decision. It’s been a long time since we have been complaining about her. She doesn’t listen. She does not know how to approach people. She was damaging the image of the ANC,” says Matomela.

Ward 104 falls under the ANC Oliver Tambo branch. Andile Peter, the chairperson of the branch, confirmed the authenticity of the recall letter, saying the decision to recall her is regrettable.

Peter says Makuwa has been recalled as a councillor but remained an ANC member.

“It is up to the ANC to determine whether to deploy, redeploy or recall us … we’re at the behest of the ANC. It’s unfortunate the decision (to recall) will affect the livelihood of those that are deployed. Such positions and deployment are associated with financial reward at the end of the day. It becomes worse when being recalled before the end of the term. It becomes worse when those comrades are not being redeployed,” says Peter.

He suggests that it is a lesson the ANC must learn — to enrol recalled deployees in a series of empowerment programs so that the recall does not have a detrimental impact on their lives.

Concerning some of the accusations leading to her recall, such as the uncollected accumulating domestic waste in Dunoon, he says it is not a matter within the purview of a ward councillor but rather a municipal issue.

“Those are some of the educational sessions we need to empower our communities.  Some of the complaints of the community are beyond the councillors control. Communities need to be empowered to know the duties of a ward councillor because everything that does not go well they blame the councillor,” he said.

ANC chief whip in the City of Cape Town council, councillor Petronella Heynes says Makuwa’s recall is based on several factors.

“As an organisation, the ANC conducts assessments  and makes recommendations and it is communicated, we abide by it.  All (ANC affiliated members) in Council, Parliament, we are at the mercy of the ANC,” said Heynes. 

Councillor Desirée Visagie, DA chief whip in the City of Cape Town, says his office has not received  a formal resignation from Makuwa.

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *