ANC will 'tread carefully' to quell unrest in North West

As tensions remain high, President Ramaphosa has cut short a London trip to calm the unrest in North West. (Brenton Geach/EPA)

As tensions remain high, President Ramaphosa has cut short a London trip to calm the unrest in North West. (Brenton Geach/EPA)

An urgent ANC meeting in Mahikeng, North West, is about to begin, but tensions remain high as the party prepares to ask questions about corruption allegations involving Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Obed Bapela, spoke to journalists on Friday, where the meeting, scheduled to address protests that have brought Mahikeng to a standstill, was delayed because President Cyril Ramaphosa had yet to arrive.

Ramaphosa arrived at Heritage House, where the meeting is being held, at around 3.30pm.

Bapela confirmed Mahumapelo would also be in attendance at the meeting.
He said the party would focus on corruption allegations against Mahumapelo.

“We have to tread carefully on the issues that have been raised. We know that the issue of corruption were uppermost in the minds of the people [and] that there’s a lot of corruption.

Calls for Mahumapelo to resign have increased in the North West after the provincial government signed a multimillion rand contract with a Gupta-linked company allegedly without following tender processes.

The company, Mediosa, was paid R30-million in advance by the province. The total value of the contract, however, was revealed due be R180-million during a sitting of the provincial legislature. The money was paid to the medical technology company even though no work had been done.

Whilst the party is facing pressure to recall Mahupamelo, Bapela shielded the ANC premier from some of the blame.

“Even though they are pinning it on one individual but has gone broader than an Indic and therefore we have to really examine that information, test it, and based on the facts we will definitely be acting on any wrongdoing on corruption that might then come our way,” he said.

Bapela made a “call for calm” from citizens in the North West, saying that their concerns were being heard. He did not mention Mediosa, but he said that residents were “quite right” to be angered when “we see millions of rands going to this company” or “advance payments even before the companies could do anything”.

The meeting, Bapela said, would aim to make outcomes that would address the concerns of residents and resolve issues that have led to the protests.

With Ramaphosa’s arrival, the meeting is set to begin.

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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