Job is jobless as Maape gets the nod as new North West premier

North West premier Job Mokgoro is now officially jobless after the ANC recalled him and replaced him with Bushy Maape, a member of the interim provincial committee (IPC) running the party in the province.

The recall of Mokgoro, an ally of ousted former premier Supra Mahumapelo, has already sparked a backlash from the latter’s supporters, who started burning tyres in the streets of the provincial capital, Mahikeng, ahead of the ANC announcing its decision.

Maape is understood to be a compromise candidate acceptable to both Mahumapelo’s supporters and the interim committee, which was appointed by Luthuli House after Mahumapelo was recalled in 2018.

Maape was chosen over the party’s two other potential choices for premier —  North West legislature speaker Suzan Dantjie and member of the executive council for finance Motlalepula Rosho

Maape is to be sworn in as a member of the provincial legislature and premier later in the week. Mokgoro, who served as director general under Mahumapelo, has been instructed to resign as a member of the legislature to make space for Maape.

A former Robben Island prisoner who was jailed in the 1980s for ANC activities, Maape served as chairperson of the party’s former Kgalagadi region during the 1990s, before joining the public service in the province’s planning and development unit.

He later served as a member of the municipal demarcation board and holds several degrees from Unisa and the University of the Western Cape.

The IPC coordinator, Hlumani Chauke, told a media briefing in Mahikeng on Tuesday — which was delayed for several hours because of the street protests — that the appointment of Maape was aimed at stabilising North West and improving working relations between the provincial government, embattled municipalities, the interim committee and other stakeholders.

Chauke said the decision to recall Mokgoro, who is facing disciplinary charges for opposing the interim committee’s choice as chair of chairs in the legislature and helping elect the nominee from the opposition Democratic Alliance, was necessary because of the continued failures in governance under his leadership.

Further, the party could not allow leaders who had refused to abide by its instruction to continue in office, Chauke added.

Among the issues that had influenced the decision was the operation of a rogue unit in the office of the premier, which was accused of spying on ANC members and government officials. 

Attempts to stabilise the province’s municipalities, which were not providing basic services, had also failed because of the inability of Makgoro to assist the interim committee.

The province has been wracked by factionalism since Mahumapelo’s recall, with regions and branches that support him refusing to recognise and work with the interim committee.

Chauke said the ANC had identified these weaknesses and “cannot sit back”, deciding instead to intervene at the “correct time.” He said Mokgoro’s skills would still be used by the ANC but “not at this level”.

“We cannot sit back and have a leader in government who has lost it at a level of implementing what the ANC said he must do,” Chauke said.

Maape said he would ensure that North West residents received proper municipal services.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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