South Africa: Mdantsane Community Divided Over Suspended Ward Councillor

Embattled Mdantsane Ward 20 Councillor Ntombizodwa Gamnca (ANC) called a general meeting on Sunday, last week. But residents disrupted the meeting at NU7 community hall, throwing chairs and shouting. They also tried to block entry to the hall with burning tyres. Other residents defended the councillor and asked her to address them.

In March the ANC suspended Gamnca over allegations of corruption involving dodgy housing deals. The matter is now with the Public Protector's office in the Eastern Cape.

Akhona Nkwali said: "We were shocked to see Gamnca here. That is why we closed the gate and chairs were used to attack her. Clearly she does not take us seriously."

He said Gamnca kicked out the caretaker ward councillor appointed after her suspension and the ANC has not acted on this. Nkwali said residents were "in the dark" on the status of the investigation. He said Gamnca cannot have access to ward money because there are corruption allegations against her.

On Monday night Gamnca called another community meeting at an open space in NU6.

"We are now fighting among ourselves because the ANC is failing us," said resident Thandile Luthi, who wants Gamnca reinstated while the investigation is underway. "Elderly people are forced to go to other ward councillors for proof of address. When we want to buy electricity we must go to a mall because the rent office is still locked."

Gamnca refused to speak to GroundUp at the meeting and told us to call her. When we phoned she dropped the call.

Eastern Cape ANC spokesperson Gift Ngqondi did not answer questions sent to him.

Buffalo City Metro Municipal spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya did not respond to our questions.

Residents on both sides say they are tired of being without a functioning ward councillor's office.

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