Power struggle at Harry Gwala Sanco branch

Nophumzile Mahlumba, chairperson of Sanco, said she's ready to hand over the reins but the process should be in line with the rules.

The Harry Gwala branch of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in Philippi is at war with itself.

Factions and power mongering have played itself out and forced the organisation to have two structures within one.

Vukani has been inundated with calls from residents about them struggling to get services because of the two factions.

According to Ntombikhona Sopaqa the two groups are finding it hard to solve their differences and this has filtered down to residents. She also accused the old committee of squandering money, corruption and lack of leadership.

She said it would be for the best if they were to step down.

According to the newly-elected members (who refused to give their names), the annual general meeting (AGM) was held last year in September and a legitimate structure was elected. They, however, said all was well until it was time to work – the old members refused to hand over the organisation’s books and stamp.

According to them, this has caused confusion among the residents as to who leads them.

Speaking to Vukani last Thursday, they described the situation as “ugly” between the factions. “They go around hurling insults at us. Even after the region has elected an eight-member task team, four from them and four from us, there is still no relationship. That is how ugly the situation is,” one told Vukani.

She claimed that it is difficult to hold meetings or attend conferences because they are not recognised. She said what was amazing was that after the old members were outvoted all was well but they later wrote a letter to the region to say the AGM was a failure.

“We were shocked to hear that they wrote a dispute letter to say the AGM was a failure. That to us showed how desperate they were willing to cling onto power. We are aware that they have support from other regional members and the local councillor for reasons known to them. We are the legitimate committee even if we are not endorsed by certain individuals,” she explained.

She said the whole fight has left the residents confused.

According to Nophumzile Mahlumba, Sanco chairperson, the members of the old committee are more prepared to step down but they want things to happen correctly.

Ms Mahlumba said not all processes were followed correctly in setting up the new structure so that is why they lodged a complaint. “This should be clear. We are more than willing to step down. We wrote a dispute letter because not all processes were followed. For example there are forms that one must sign. After that there should be a printout of names, but here was no such (thing). They were the only ones with such printouts, why?” she asked.

She said at the moment and until the next AGM they remain the leaders. She said the region has given them the go-ahead to lead.

Asked about the task team, she admitted that there is a task team but it is not working hand in hand. “The working relationship is bad.

We don’t like that but they force us. It has become a proper houses and shacks thing now. That group is always insulting us and that is bad,” she said.

Local councillor Nkululeko Mgolombane laughed off the suggestions that he is in support of the old committee. He said the fight between the groups is also a surprise to him because he doesn’t know who to work with.

Mr Mgolombane said the two are involved in petty politics while there are programmes to be taken care of in the ward. He appealed to both sides not to spread misinformation about him.