root - February 27, 2024

Sanco supports interim leadership until by-elections are held

Peter Luhanga

The recall of Dunoon’s ward 104 councillor Messie Makuwa by the ANC has resulted in proportional representative (PR) ANC councillor Lazola Gungxe being ushered in as interim caretaker by the party’s Oliver Tambo branch.

The announcement was made at a community meeting at the Sophakama Primary School in Dunoon on 25 February, following Makuwa’s “recall” exactly a month prior.

The meeting, chaired by ANC Oliver Tambo branch chairperson Andile Peter, was attended by 76 community and street committee leaders from Dunoon and surrounding informal settlements, and representatives from the Dunoon Taxi Association (DTA).

Makuwa’s recall came after the regional executive committee meeting on Sunday 25 January hosted by the ANC’s Dullah Omar Region and was attributed to the breakdown in her relationship with the ANC branch and the community, deemed irreparable despite several intervention attempts.

The ANC’s provincial working committee, in a decision communicated through provincial secretary Neville Delport on 20 February, formally announced Makuwa’s temporary suspension as ward councillor.

But Makuwa has not resigned from her council position. According to Peter, her temporary suspension from the ANC is a prelude to internal disciplinary proceedings.

He says the appointment of Gungxe as interim caretaker is a temporary measure aimed at ensuring continuity in ward 104’s representation up until a by-election is held in the ward. 

He says the ANC Oliver Tambo branch is committed to engaging with the community on matters of governance and development in the ward, assuring residents that their interests remain a top priority.

Makuwa on Monday stated she was neither aware of, nor invited to the meeting on Sunday. She expressed confusion over the reasons for her party’s actions, noting that she is unaware of any wrongdoing that would warrant such treatment. She said she has not received any formal communication regarding a breach of her contract.

Peter says following Makuwa’s recall on 25 January, residents in Dunoon faced challenges with service delivery, including obtaining proof of address. He said Gungxe will fulfill such duties in the meantime.

“A councillor should embody the spirit of the people, acting as a servant rather than a boss. It is important to leave personal grievances aside and focus on serving the community,” said Peter.

He said Makuwa’s personal assistant, who previously served under former ward 104 ANC councillor Lubabalo Makeleni, whose term of office ended in 2021, will continue to serve as personal assistant to Gungxe. This would ensure continuity in service delivery. 

Some community leaders at the meeting stated they did not know Gungxe and questioned why a PR councillor was sourced from outside Dunoon when there were competent local residents who could fulfill the role. 

In response, Peter said that to deploy a PR councillor, it should be someone already acting in that capacity under the umbrella of the organisation. Therefore, an existing PR councillor had been deployed to the area.

Sanco Dunoon lodged complaints with the ANC, leading to Makuwa’s recall. SANCO Dunoon chairperson Sinethemba Matomela praised the ANC’s decision to deploy Gungxe.

“As SANCO we welcome the interim caretaker councillor. He is not new in our community. He understands the needs of our community. We hope there will be a big difference. We will work hand in hand with him if he wants to work with us,” said Matomela.

DTA chairperson Howard Ngongco commended the community leaders for their peaceful approach in addressing grievances against Makuwa. 

Regarding grievances against Makuwa, Ngongco praised community leaders for following proper channels with the ANC rather than embarking on violent protests. 

“You didn’t vandalise anything in protest, you should continue working that way,” said Ngongco.

Gungxe, who lives in Parklands, says the ANC had assigned him to work in wards 4, 32, 55, and 113. He says he was informed last Friday that he was specifically being deployed to work in ward 104 until a by-election is held.

“I am a deployee of the ANC. If the organisation gives me marching orders, I’ll go anywhere. I was told I am deployed to ward 104, and that is a deployment. I am happy wherever the ANC deploys me. It’s about services. The ANC deploys wherever there are challenges to serve our people,” he said.

He said the most important thing was to ensure services in Dunoon.

“Political issues and challenges will be dealt with by the ANC,” he said.

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