North West opts to keep ANC in power

(Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

(Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)



Weeks after Jacob Zuma’s recall from the presidency, North West was at a standstill. Thousands of protesters took to the streets, shutting a dozen health care facilities while also barricading the town of Mahikeng. 

The grievance: Supra Mahumapelo. 

The chairperson of the ANC in the North West, and premier of the province. At that time Mahumapelo was a Zuma loyalist and, within weeks of Zuma’s departure, residents in the North West demanded his removal.

When the Mail & Guardian visited affected residents last year, a community leader said they were turning to national government to intervene because they had found little support from provincial structures under Mahumapelo.

“This is an ANC dominated community, but we are not getting anything.
We are not violent, Minister, our protest was never violent. We were fighting just for a better life for us as the big people of the community and for our small children,” the community leader said.

Over one year later — and some court induced musical chairs in the ANC’s provincial structure — the North West has voted ANC. 

The party has won over 60% of the vote, down from 67.39% in 2014. The DA saw a small decline from 12.73% to 11.20%, while the EFF further improved its support in the province — up to 18.63 % from 13.21%. The Freedom Front Plus meanwhile, replicating its success elsewhere in the country, scored 4.33 % of the vote in the province, up from 1.72% in 2014.

At 57%, turnout was low in the province.

Khadija Patel

Khadija Patel

Khadija Patel pushes words on street corners. She is the editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian, a co-founder of the The Daily Vox and vice chairperson of the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI). As a journalist she has produced work for Sky News, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Quartz, City Press and the Daily Maverick, among others. She is also a research associate at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Witwatersrand) and has previously worked in community media. In 2017, she was among 11 people from across Africa and the diaspora who were awarded the inaugural Africa #NoFilter fellowship from the Ford Foundation and in 2018, she was awarded honorary membership of the Golden Key Society. She is passionate about the protection and enhancement of global media as a public good.  Read more from Khadija Patel