EMBATTLED PREMIER OF SOUTH AFRICA’S NORTH WEST PROVINCE SET TO RESIGN WEDNESDAY

JOHANNESBURG– The Premier of South Africa’s North West Province, Supra Mahumapelo, has confirmed that he will resign as the head of the provincial government by Wednesday after he has met his provincial Executive to formally inform them about the decision.

By tomorrow (Wednesday) midday, Supra Obakeng Ramoeletsi Mahumapelo will be the former Premier of the North West. That’s why I’m saying I will elaborate tomorrow in the press conference why I believe a particular political narrative has been created so that we are in the circumstances where we have now reached a state of untenability, Mahumapelo told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Tuesday.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee, set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa and led by Minister in the Presidency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has concluded its work to investigate corruption allegations and lack of service delivery afflicting some provincial departments. The committee’s recommendations were expected to be tabled before the Cabinet meeting in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The North West has suffered weeks of violent unrest by protesters blaming the premier for alleged corruption and poor service delivery. His critics have cautiously welcomed the news that their push for his recall is about to succeed.

Mahumapelo’s political career begun in the early 1980s reached the highest echelons of provincial politics but it seems his adaptable nature may face its greatest test amidst intensifying calls for him to step down from opposition parties and some disgruntled members of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) and its Tripartite Alliance partners — the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the country’s largest labour federation.

Political analyst Prof Andre Duven said: Mr Mahumapelo is not politically aligned with the forces of the day. At the moment he is aligning himself with (former president) Jacob Zuma, with (ANC Secretary-General) Ace Magashule. And I believe that is the wrong position to be in this time. And I can only see big trouble for him in the future.

While divisions in the ruling party in the province did not begin with Premier Mahumapelo, it seems the party grew more fragmented under his leadership with major fault lines forming after last December’s national elective conference, as members of the Tripartite Alliance rallied to have him removed from office after his pro-Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma slate lost to the Ramaphosa camp for the party presidency.

North West Cosatu Chairperson Solly Lekhu explained: As the Alliance, we have the capacity to deal with such matters if we believe a leader is no longer relevant or serving the interest of the population. Workers were very clear that the Premier must speak to his conscience and relinquish the position he is in.

The Premier’s name was also brought into disrepute last month when his office was raided by the Hawks, the special investigative unit of the police, after allegations that an information technology (IT) company, Nepo Data Dynamics, was irregularly paid more than 215 million Rand (about 17 million US dollars).

His name also made headlines when it emerged that the Premier had prior knowledge about corruption in the provincial Department of Health relating to an irregular payment of 30 million Rand to a medical technology company, Mediosa, which is linked to the Guptas, the Indian immigrant family accused of being involved in “State Capture”, the wielding of undue influence over senior figures of State for personal benefit.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK