It’s D-Day for besieged Mahumapelo and his lieutenants

Mahumapelo is believed to still have a large following in North West, which could plunge the province into disorder should he be removed. (Mduduzi Ndzingi/Sowetan)

Mahumapelo is believed to still have a large following in North West, which could plunge the province into disorder should he be removed. (Mduduzi Ndzingi/Sowetan)

The embattled North West premier, Supra Mahumapelo, will know his fate next weekend when the ANC national executive committee (NEC) members meet to discuss the matter.

Mahumapelo was expected to appear before the ANC top six officials before the meeting to account for his inaction on governance failures in the province and corruption allegations levelled against him.

On Monday, the ANC’s national working committee (NWC) will prepare a report for the NEC. Two weeks ago it resolved that Mahumapelo should be recalled. The report is likely to make the same recommendation.

Despite the NWC’s resolute stance, the final decision on whether to recall Mahumapelo can only be made by the NEC, the only ANC structure with the power to remove premiers.

The ANC Veterans League, which has led the push in the ANC for Mahumapelo’s removal, has said it will continue to push for his recall.

North West veterans league secretary Martin Sebakwane said they were confident the NEC would reach the same decision as the NWC.

At the start of the public revolt against Mahumapelo last month, it was the veterans league that presented a report to the party’s national leadership on the state of the ANC and governance in the North West.
It called for Mahumapelo to be stripped of his posts as premier and ANC chairperson, the dissolution of the provincial executive committee (PEC) and the appointment of a provincial task team.

“We don’t believe he can be the face of our election campaign for the 2019 elections,” said Sebakwane.

The call to dissolve the PEC will probably face fierce resistance from some NEC members aligned to former president Jacob Zuma. The North West PEC has already shown resistance by refusing to accept Mahumapelo’s resignation, despite an agreement he had allegedly reached with President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down.

The NEC’s disregard of an ANC report on the Eastern Cape is likely to count against the executive committee. The report, which was compiled by NEC member Sbu Ndebele earlier this year, recommended that the Eastern Cape PEC be dissolved and the violent provincial elective conference that elected Oscar Mabuyane as chairperson last year be re-run.But there has been no action on the report’s recommendations, with the NEC reportedly rejecting it because of alleged inaccuracies.

The anti-Ramaphosa supporters have complained about Luthuli House’s reluctant to act against the Eastern Cape, saying it was a clear example of selective persecution, particularly of those who did not support Ramaphosa at the ANC conference in December.

This inaction by the NEC is likely to be used by North West PEC members to question any action against the structure in that province.

Mahumapelo is believed to still have a large following in North West, which could plunge the province into disorder should he be removed, and prove detrimental to the ANC’s 2019 election ambitions.

But Sebakwane said the veterans league was not concerned about the possibility of a revolt by Mahumapelo’s supporters and believed the size of his following is exaggerated. “We are confident [that there won’t be any chaos]. Because today [Thursday] he [Mahumapelo] called a peace march and only very few people have gone there to support him. Only about 300 people attended, which is really a very small number.

So we are not concerned. Whatever happens it will be for the greater good of the province.”

National government has also stepped in to address a potential governance disaster in the province. On Wednesday the inter-ministerial task team appointed by Ramaphosa announced its decision to place the entire North West provincial government under administration.

Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who heads the task team, said progress reports would be presented to Cabinet on a fortnightly basis and investigations would verify information on corruption allegations.

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