WATCH | Residents set street alight to demand Gamnca go

Buffalo City Metro residents in ward 20 have closed the entrance to the NU6 municipal offices.

A struggle over who should occupy the office of Buffalo City Metro’s ward 20 escalated on Monday when angry residents protested, disrupting a meeting at the East London City Hall.

They continued to protest on Tuesaday, burning tires to block the entrance to the NU6 municipal offices.

Suspended councillor Ntombizodwa Gamnca had recently returned to her seat, “removing” ANC proportional representative councillor Ncedo Kumbaca from it.

He was deployed by the party as a “caretaker councillor” when she was suspended.

This was in March, after a number of residents accused her of defrauding them of thousands of rands. They claimed she sold them houses illegally and failed to deliver the title deeds or the houses.

Mdantsane police try to maintain order
Mdantsane police try to maintain order

Protesting residents told the Dispatch on Monday that Gamnca removed Kumbaca from office during election week.

Protester Yolanda Thupheni said: “She told him she was back now. We don’t know who brought her back because the ANC told us she was suspended. We don’t want her here with her personal assistant. They must leave office.”

The ward councillor’s office was locked on Monday after police officers ordered Gamnca’s personal assistant to close the office and hand over the keys at the city hall.

When asked by the Dispatch about going back to her office Gamnca said: “I was never removed from office.”

She did not want to comment further.

Kumbaca said: “When I got to the office on May 6, I found her sitting on my chair and there was a meeting with area and ward committees.

“She told me she was back and I did not stay long because I saw there was no need for me there. I’m also in the dark about what is happening.

“I informed the regional and provincial ANC officials of what happened because the truth is I never deployed myself to that office so I had to report to them.

“Even the official letters she gives to residents have her stamp now. They are no longer giving the ones with my stamp on. I will wait for guidance from the ANC.”

A large police presence monitored the situation
A large police presence monitored the situation

ANC provincial executive committee member Loyiso Magqashela, who made the suspension announcement to residents in March, said Gamnca’s disciplinary hearing was put on hold over the election period.

“I have heard that she is back in office. Her disciplinary hearing was delayed by the elections, we had to pay attention to that. There has been no deal with her to come back to office from our side,” said Magqashela.

However Magqashela referred questions about the legality of the suspension to provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi, who could not be reached by the time of writing on Monday.

The IEC and the provincial co-operative governance & traditional affairs department said no political party had the authority to suspend an elected ward councillor.

ANC BCM chief whip Mawethu Marata said: “There was no communication to Gamnca. She has to tell us how she went back to office.”