Dunoon left without ward councillor after sudden ANC recall

Councillor Messie Makuwa says she is ready to fight in court

By Peter Luhanga

30 January 2024

ANC Ward 104 Councillor Messie Makuwa at a Blaauwberg subcouncil meeting last year. She was abruptly recalled from her position last week. Photo: Peter Luhanga

The ANC has unexpectedly recalled its ward councillor in Dunoon, Cape Town. Ward 104 Councillor Messie Makuwa was elected in 2021. Her recall comes after complaints from the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) Dunoon branch.

Makuwa says she was informed of her dismissal by the secretary of the ANC Dullah Omar region on Friday just as she was about to enter a meeting in the Civic Centre.

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

Makuwa said she was given no opportunity to respond to any allegations or complaints about her. She was also not summoned to the party’s disciplinary committee.

“As a councillor I’ve performed very well. They cannot just recall me as if they’re recalling a dog,” she said. “I am prepared to take them to court.”

“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 said.

She said the SANCO Dunoon branch had an “agenda” – they wanted her to fight for them to get municipal tenders. She said she will expose this. She said they had also accused her of having ties to the DA.

Chairperson of SANCO Dunoon Sinethemba Matomela said, “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.”

ANC Oliver Tambo branch (which includes ward 104) chairperson Andile Peter said, “All the ANC deployees are deployed at the behest of the ANC. Therefore it is the prerogative of the ANC to redeploy or recall you.”

“Some of the community complaints or challenges are beyond the councillor’s control,” he said.

Dunoon had had numerous issues with service provision, including overburdened sewers, garbage piling up and unserviced toilets – caused by contractual disputes and lapses and fights over local employment.

Makuwa said she was aware that some of the SANCO allegations related to victims of a shack fire in Ethembeni in July 2023, who later on threw domestic waste at her office because they had not been given electricity.

“I am not Eskom. Is it my fault that Eskom did not provide electricity [after the shack fire]?” she asked.

Chairperson of the Blaauwberg subcouncil Phindile Maxiti, said the provision of services will be affected until the IEC holds a by-election.

Until then there will be no councillor in the subcouncil advocating for the ward with the City council.

Maxiti said Makuwa had succeeded in getting roads resurfaced and she was busy with various issues, including the provision of communal toilets in informal settlements, the creation of informal trading spaces, expediting the repair of two MyCiTi bus stations, and engaging with Eskom.

“The [City council] chief whip and the Speaker have to take measures to arrange someone on a temporary basis up until a by-election is held,” said Maxiti.

The City said it had not received a letter of resignation from Makuwa.